If you're into thinkin' and drinkin'

Off the Shelf — Beers of August

I do in fact know that it is now October. Hand-Eye Media HQ has been a working hard to make the donuts as well as planning some special things for the BLP.

The lovely Mrs. Kathleen and I sampled more beers through August, including some regional beers from Appalachia, in particular, the Smoky Mountain Brewery. Whenever I go on vacation and am somewhere I might be able to get a beer or have a glass of wine, I immediately ask the server what they have available that is local because it will be an entirely new experience I may never get a chance to try again.

In this case I brought back one of every kind Smoky Mountain Brewery had to offer. It had to be done.

An idea I’ve been toying around with regarding craft beer is that when the market is going crazy like it is in Chicago, each producer has to set themselves apart. Just making good beer isn’t good enough. Brewers have to play with the recipes, they have to experiment and some of them take risks. This creates a wild selection topography in a relatively small area, and it gives beer drinkers opportunities to try brews that can be quite extraordinary. Without the competition, I would expect brewers to play it safe.

When we went to Tennessee, I tasted a lot of safe beer. Maybe the problem was that I wasn’t tasting the whiskey, but in any case I went for the local beers. Some beer I had in Chattanoona was notable (Big River in downtown Chattanooga didn’t challenge traditional beer ideas, but definitely made some unique style choices, and it was well executed), but most were ordinary, producing what might be called commercial quality beers with a local label.  Admittedly, this is a preference. I like to try new things, and I will always give something new a shot, but if it seems safe and unoriginal, I will appreciate it less than something daring that I hated.

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