Things I Learned at Beer Appreciation Night

So, Ash and I spent the evening last night at “Beer Appreciation Night” at BJ’s Brewhouse in Woodland Hills. For those of you not from the West Coast, BJ’s is an upscale micro-brew, where they make premium and distinctive beers on-site. Beer appreciation night works a little something like this: they pick a topic (last night was Belgian beer), they bring in an expert, the expert brings in a lot of beer, they pour the beer, we drink the beer, the expert talks about the beer. For those of you who weren’t able to make what I’m quite sure will be the first of a monthly event, let me sum up for you what I learned last night:

1) Don’t order a shot of bourbon to start – there’s plenty of beer coming.

2) In Belgium, the boy scouts go door to door selling ale as a fundraiser instead of cookies.

3) Belgium may be voting soon to split into two countries, Flanders and Wallonia. (I wanted to ask the speaker if they intentionally chose their new names based on Simpsons characters, but Ash waved me off)

4) If you hire a brilliant brewmaster, and put him in charge of your brewery, you have to let him use the brewery to make side-projects, even if, when you serve them at Beer Appreciation night, there is a collective gasp of horror at the prominent sherry/apple/buffalo-chilli flavor in the beer, because, well, he’s the same guy who brewed the 4 beers amazing that followed, one of which of which would have gotten a standing ovation if we were capable of standing.

5) In Belgium, they serve beer in school cafeterias. It’s cool though, ‘cuz it’s only like 2% alcohol.

6) If you’re planning your own Beer Appreciation night, go from light-and-sweet to dark to light-and-sour. It’s a good arc.

7) Do not taunt the drunk racist guy in the corner. Seriously. He’s bigger than you, and he learned to fight in Montana. Against, like, moose. Or whatever.

8) Two kinds of people come to beer appreciation night – the kind who bring a pencil, and the kind who don’t. Everybody makes fun of the pencil-bringers, until the end of the night, when they’re the only ones who remember if it was the Guflertzengrumtlar that tasted like angel tears dipped in honey, or the Gahzterumflarfner. Turns out the Guflertzengrumtlar tastes like skunk-farts.

9) There is such a thing as bad beer.

10) The piss-tasting american beers (The words of the brew-master, not me!) taste that way because they were trying to make a German pilsner, but substituted corn for grain because it’s cheaper. Thanks, Budweiser. Proud to be an american.

11) This is not a sipping event – we drank 17 beers in 2 hours. You have to bring your “A” game, and by “A” game, I mean you have to sit on your can and drink beer, in a hurry. Good thing Ash and I have been training.

12) Hops cure cancer. Drink up, you chain smokers!

13) It is always a good idea to go listen to someone who is knowledgable and passionate about a topic. There is something infectious about it, in a good way. As we were sitting there, listening to the Belgian expert talk about his love for the 5,000 year old craft of brewing, and about how the temperature of the yeast affects the growth of the bacteria, and how certain flavors have calendars to when they emerge in the beer, I realized that he talks about beer in the same way that Chad and I would sit around and talk about a vocal mic selection, or the way Rosy talks about ply-layer construction on his studio kit, or how to time a snare flam in a funk groove. He loves making beer. Which work out well, because, as it turns out, I love drinking it.

26 thoughts on “Things I Learned at Beer Appreciation Night

  1. Doug

    This post blew my theory that since you gained professorship status (at a conservative- by my standard- Christian college) your posts would show how spiritual and holy you are. (see previous post “Why I am an Evangelical”) My new theory is that you are really more refomed (in the beer drinking Luther sense, or gin drinking Calvin sense) than you have been willing to admit.

  2. Zack

    Apparently my phone must be broken. There’s really no other legitimate reason THAT I WAS NOT INVITED TO THIS EVENT. Looks like I’ll have to get a new phone.

  3. Jeremy

    Man…i love this site. Evangelical wisdom one day and beer drinking the next. My kind of place. Think I’ll go crack a Boddington’s.

  4. michael lee Post author

    We are celebrants in the sacrament of life. This pretty much neccesitates both theological query and Beer Appreciation night.

  5. aly hawkins

    14) If you’re 5 beers in and the beer guy says “Hops cures cancer,” calling your wife (who is slaving away at home editing a bible study guaranteed to help you lose weight) and expecting her to be as excited as you are is probably not realistic.

  6. michael lee Post author

    Aly, don’t steal the bride’s joy. And by bride, I mean Bryan. And by joy, I mean sloppy drunk phone calls. And by steal, I mean answer the phone.

  7. Scot McKnight

    I can’t link to this on my saturday selections becauase I have too many students who read my site. Good grief, you wrote it and teach students.

  8. aly hawkins

    Dude, you just got your wrist slapped by Scot McKnight. Does this mean you’re going to become “set-a-good-example-for-the- impressionable-young-people” guy? ‘Cause that would suck.

  9. michael lee Post author

    Yeah, but Scot, my students are all going to be musicians, not pastors.

    Doug, I’m not too worried. My immediate supervisor (Phil Shackleton), and my department chair (Rod) have both been reading the blog regularly for the last several months, and in spite of that they recommended me for the position. So, I figure they haven’t found anything here to be too objectionable.

    And, just to be clear, pretty much everything is conservative from your perspective, you theological hippy!

  10. harmonicminer

    Just to be absolutely clear about the scriptural foundation of all this… I don’t recall reading a thing about beer in the Bible. I do recall wine.

    I’m having trouble re-casting the wedding miracle into “water to beer”, though. Just sorta loses something in the substitution…

  11. Doug

    Beer in the Bible doesn’t get good press.
    Proverbs 20:1 TNIV Chapter
    Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

    Proverbs 31:4 TNIV Chapter
    It is not for kings, Lemuel— it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer,

    Proverbs 31:6 TNIV Chapter
    Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish!

    Isaiah 56:12 TNIV Chapter
    “Come,” each one cries, “let me get wine! Let us drink our fill of beer! And tomorrow will be like today, or even far better.”

  12. E. Skiles

    As usual a thought provoking read. My first thought was “oh man, now I need to work on not being such a lightweight.” “And expand your beer horizons, Guinness, Boddingtons, Beamish, Chimay, and Corona are good but I need to do a bit more world travel through beer. Gotta work some more Lo Brau beers into the mix as well.”

    I fully believe in #9 and #10 just confirms it, hmm MGD or Chimay (brewed by monks, in Belgium)

    And remember “beer liquor never sicker” “Liquor beer never fear”
    oh and don’t chase shots of cask strength (120 proof) scotch with beer, after a few beers and a shot of Jager.

  13. harmonicminer

    I had an “uncle-in-law” who would not say the phrase “root beer”… he insisted on asking only for “root”… He’s lucky no one gave him weed…

  14. Scot McKnight

    Boddington’s is the finest I’ve ever tasted. Now, to be honest, I have a real yen for English bitter beers, but Boddington’s got a head that is the finest.

  15. Ash

    Scott, Boddington’s on tap is a thing of wonder. Should you ever have occasion to visit Ventura, CA, the Boddington’s is on me!

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