Beer Shopping Guide - The Beer Blogger

Beer Shopping Guide - The Beer Blogger

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Image: – – Macho Spouse

 

AaronB2.jpgYou're inside the store, so now what? With more stores providing more beers to choose from the task of beer shopping often leads to a paradox of choice for shoppers.

I believe going beer shopping should be a joyous occasion especially with the growing selection due to the surge of craft breweries in the U.S. Even if you are a naysayer that claims “I don't like beer” there is most likely an offering that will pleasantly surprise you.

However, the increased selection has also led to some confusion for consumers. For example, I often get asked how to select “good” beer by friends and even other shoppers.


What is “Good” Beer


Plain and simple, whatever you deem to be good beer is good beer (for you). Your personal preferences are the most important factor, not beer ratings/reviews, friend's recommendations, or following the Beer Judge Certification Program style guidelines. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes so let your palate lead the way.

A Beer's Journey

Some factors you should know about that affect your beer are often out of your control such as the supply chain for beer or even the beer itself. Before beer is stocked on the shelf it has to be transported from the brewery to a distributor (some breweries do self-distribute). Some distributors may refrigerate during transit and storage while others do not. Once beer is delivered to a retailer such as your local grocery store some will sit unrefrigerated as back stock, on the shelf or in cases stacked on the floor. Also the beer itself may have been produced with certain defects making it more susceptible to becoming stale. So, how do you go about selecting the freshest beer?

Steps to Selecting Fresh Beer

1. Select beer that is on the shelf in the refrigerated section. Perhaps the most obvious choice, however, this also has the beneficial effect enjoying your beer a little sooner after you get home!

2. Go to retailers that have a good turnover on their beer. This will take some time and research as you get to know your local stores offerings, determine the knowledge of their staff and collect recommendations from friends. One shop that goes to great lengths to ensure beer quality is By the Bottle and use low UV screened lighting to prevent light struck (skunky) beer.

3. Read! Know when seasonal beers are being released so you can purchase them at the beginning of their season to ensure freshness. Beerpulse and Beer Advocate are good online sources as is Facebook once you “like” a brewers page. There are many more and you may find a local publication that works for you.

4. Shop! Shopping consistently for beer helps you become more familiar with what is new while providing your beer fridge at home with more variety. This allows for the opportunity to forgo buying refrigerated beer, if needed, since you know the beer has not been unrefrigerated for a long period of time if it is newly released.

5. Network! Social media, homebrew clubs and establishments that offer craft beer are fantastic places to sample and gain insights into what you like, when to seek it out and where. This has the added benefit of enjoying limited release beers that may not be available. I also text my beer drinking friends when I find favorite brands that are on sale.

6. Choices! With so many choices of beer it is easy to get overwhelmed. If you are so inclined it may be useful to track the beer you have tried with an app or written notes. Untappd is an app that enables you to rate and review beers, which also allows you to network with others after you have friended them on Untappd.

7. Take risks! At times you may have to step out of normal buying habits and try a beer you missed despite all your efforts. You may be pleasantly surprised. If you don't like the beer, try trading with friend that may appreciate the flavor. In the worst case, if the beer is stale, use some to make chili!

Most importantly, drink and enjoy your beer in a glass to better appreciate all the efforts of craft brewers!

Cheers!

About Aaron:

Aaron Brodniak is a fellow male military spouse who recently earned a Masters in Management at American Public University.  He will be an instructor for Oregan State University's workshops on Craft Brewery and Craft Cidery startups.  When not writing for us, he has his own blog:  Brodniak's Beer Business Blog.  If you like beer and business, you should check it out! 

See also...

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Active-Duty Dad

EverettDaughter-220.jpgIf we string Webster Dictionary's definitions of "active," "duty," and "dad" together we get "active dad dutifully taking care of his child(ren).

All too often I find myself watching dads who are disengaged with their children.  I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that there may be extenuating circumstances that I cannot see.  The Dad may be tired, just come off a long shift of work, not feeling good, or just plain needs a break. I can understand that and I've been there too. By the same token we still need to be active in the rearing of our kids.  Taking the time to be the example of how to interact with the world.  We need to put the cell phones down, stop checking Facebook or emails.  I'll also take into account the physical limitations placed on folks too.  We may not be as flexible in movement as we once were, but we can still try. 

image for SAHD Life: Being a Strong-And-Healthy-Dad

SAHD Life: Being a Strong-And-Healthy-Dad

james-family-220.jpgI get these "google alerts" every day, which are basically just articles and posts from around the web related to certain keywords I want to monitor. "SAHD" and "Stay-At-Home-Dad" are keywords I monitor and I have been getting a great deal of posts.

Much of the stuff that I'm seeing regarding SAHD is still in the "novelty" range, or the "Awww, that's cute" range. I also check out websites that give the spouse's perspective - you know, the women who live with these dudes. These sites are way more interesting to me than the talk about the latest television show depicting SAHDs.

Anyway, I haven't seen much about the health of SAHDs. In all of my monitors and in all of the web surfing I've done on the topic of SAHDs, I have not come across any health-related posts. I found that very interesting.



 

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