Posted July 5, 2018
Each Wednesday, submit your burning Boulevard beer questions on Twitter, tagging @Boulevard_Beer and #WWKW. I'll sift through the questions and select my favorites to answer in a blog post that will be shared here each Thursday morning. Everything is fair game! Go!
- Jeremy Danner, Ambassador Brewer
Well, since these always go live on Thursday afternoons, we're a bit behind, but we'll make do. Honestly, apart from your favorite BLVD beer (This is the BLVD website after all.), the best cookout beer is the cold one that's in your hand. In my role at the brewery, I spend all day every day thinking about beer on this crazy, in-depth level that (almost) makes it no fun so when I'm off and just hanging out with friends, I LOVE drinking beer that I don't have to think about too much. Yesterday afternoon and evening was all about Jam Band and American Kolsch. When it's hot, I love two very different types of beers: beers that don't taste like beer and beer flavored beers. I know, that's contradictory, but stick with me. Jam Band was a perfect beer to get things going. There's a ton of flavor and at 5.9% ABV, it's very much a beer that can get the party started. Once we moved outside to cook, chill on the deck and shoot fireworks, I think a beer flavored beer that's super easy drinking is ideal. I also threw some ciders in too.
Ultimately, though, in a situation like a 4th of July cookout or a round of disc golf with your buddies, I view beer as an accompaniment as opposed to making the occasion and tend to go for less complex, super drinkable beers. When I'm hosting a tasting or a bottle share and folks want to really think about their beers, that's when I reach for things like Bourbon Barrel Quad, Changeling, Saison Brett and Love Child blends. Speaking of Changeling, the 2018 blend drops this coming Monday! Head to my Brewer's Blog post for details.
If you're not familiar with the Left For Dead series of spirits from J. Rieger, head here. On their landing page for Left For Dead, they have a full backstory of the series and each release they've bottled. As they produce, bottle and sell all of the Left For Dead releases, they're the absolute best to handle any inquiries, but here's their reply:
Selfishly, my favorite release was Batch 6, the Jeremy Danner Collection.
Before I dive into the off-flavor portion of your question, let me say that I think your approach is absolutely spot on, especially when trying breweries/beers that are new to you. Sure, style guidelines exist to inform folks of what they're getting into, but at the same time, I don't think brewing strictly to style guidelines is the way to go so I think you're right on when evaluating beers based on the stated intent of the brewer. If you're not familiar with a beer/brewery, I think being able to taste a beer and say, "Yeah, this is exactly what they said it was going to be." is a good indication that the beer itself is good. Accurate execution of intent is a good thing. On the other hand, though, sometimes you have a beer and think, "I feel like this is a good beer, but I'm not positive what the brewer was going for." That can be a bit confusing and harder to determine if you're drinking a good/quality beer.
When it comes to off-flavors, yeah, brewery folks with trained palates can definitely pick them up and, for the most part, identify the source/cause of the off-flavor. If I'm asked for my opinion on a beer, I'll definitely provide honest feedback because I want everyone to make great beer. You never know when someone's first craft beer will be at your spot so you hope that their first experience with craft beer is amazing versus tasting a flawed beer that turns them off.
Want to discuss any of the above in more detail or have follow up questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter: @Jeremy_Danner