Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crossing the Finish Line

A beer conversion success story...

A couple of years ago I began introducing a family friend to craft beer. He was a cider fan but was adamant on his opinion of beer, "I don't like beer" he declared. I knew he was a victim of factory beer, so my response was "You haven't had good beer." And I accepted the challenge.

My friend did let on that he once enjoyed a beer he had at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, and we ascertained that it was probably some sort of Belgian-style. One of the first salvos I sent his way was Heavy Seas Red Sky at Night. That's a heavy hitter you say? My thought was that Red Sky was different enough from "just beer." And it worked. Unfortunately, Red Sky is a seasonal release and I had no more on hand until the following fall.

I offered various beers with little success. The standard Pale Ales, Brown Ales, Stouts, didn't initially impress. It takes time to develop a taste for good beer. There were a few highlights along the way. Brooklyn Local 2 was a hit. And yet, it's another limited release beer.  The humorous mantra for successful beers became "seasonal and expensive." We served various Belgian beers with moderate success. Now there were a few beers our friend enjoyed, but I was not satisfied that I had a convert. He was always willing to try any beer offered so I was determined to press on.

Last Summer he made a trip to Germany, and spent time at some local Biergartens while there. Upon his return he let me know "I love Weissbier." Now we're getting somewhere. Further conversation revealed that Paulaner Hefe-Weizen was one of the named beers he had. Naturally, I made sure the beer fridge was stocked. Colleen is also a fan of Hefeweizen so we had a few other hefeweizen-style beers on hand too.

We slowly refined our friend's palate and he began to enjoy more and more beers. A turning point in this quest came when I served Tröegs Nugget Nectar. I had been building the beer up for quite a while, but was still afraid the strong flavor might not go over. Well, that was a hit, and I admit to being somewhat surprised, even though it is one of my favorites. (Note to self, pick up more Nugget Nectar before it's sold out.) The last stop on the adventure was a recent dinner at Lee's Retreat. Our friend ordered a Blue & Gray Falmouth Pale Ale, and enjoyed it. Next he tasted my Stonewall Stout, and said he liked that too! Good, non-seasonal beers. That's the finish line.

On our way home from dinner I declared "My work here is done."

As I mentioned at the start, our friend is a cider fan. I've never had much hard cider, but in all fairness, I'll let the tables turn and start trying out a few he recommends. Stand by for that story.

1 comment:

  1. Try to get some Albemarle Ciderworks ciders. They're drier than most available ciders, more champagne-like, but they're very well made, and of course, a Virginia product. I know they're available in the Charlottesville area, but not sure how far beyond that. You can visit them at their tasting room and orchard in North Garden.


Comments on posts over 21 days old are held for moderation.