16 January 2016

Finding a "Go-To" Beer

I love to try different beers. My fridge and cold cellar are usually filling up faster than I can drink my acquisitions and it is not always easy to decide what to try some nights. Choice can be a devious thing. Studies have shown that too many choices can confuse and intimidate a person, freezing them into indecision. I honestly feel that way from time to time as I open the fridge and reach for a new brew.
A lot of time it is just a style thing. Do I want a strong beer? A refreshing one? Or maybe a little IPA love with some bitter, citrus kick? Oh the problems of a Craft Beer guy.
. I tend to stick to lighter and less filling beers at the start, moving to big bold ones as the night progresses. But I try to make sure I have several different breweries and their respective takes on each style in there, so I am often left waffling over where to start.
When I drank macro beer, it was easy. Lakeport, Brava Light and finally Old Milwaukee were my quick pick me up choices and I never gave it much thought. As I began to venture into Craft Beer, I would add a new beer or two a night, but it was so easy to grab an old faithful or more likely four of them, as the night wore on. When I made the decision to not purchase this type of beer anymore, it left me in a quandary.
What would be my "Go-to" brew?
By "go-to" I mean the beer you just want to chill after a long day at work. It is also a beer you have had before and loved. I am not always in the mood for something new and sometimes just want a good beer to relax and enjoy the evening with. Something familiar, yet tasty and well made. There are a myriad of choices out there for this type of beer and a lot of it will depend on your own personal taste and what is available near you.
For myself, I generally try to go with beers that are lower in alcohol by volume (ABV), so I am not getting hammered while I watch the game. Despite how bad my Leafs are, I still want to be able to enjoy the action, not stagger around in a stupor. 
Summer come soon!
Pompous Ass Ale from Etobicoke's Great Lakes Brewery is always in my fridge and I love chilling in my chair with one of these. I wrote about it here, on My Top Ten of 2015. Great, easy drinking beer and available at grocery stores as well.
The goal of having a "go-to" beer is to have something familiar that you can reach for when you just don't know what you want. I am often finding myself getting a Cause and Effect from Nickel Brook when I am thinking about what I want to review that night. Or maybe a Fireside ESB from The Collingwood Brewery. Can't forget Steamwhistle, my favourite Pilsner. I have literally dozens of beers I can grab at the LCBO just to have in my fridge for plain old drinking.
I love my Steamwhistle.
The thing I want to stress the most is that it is fine to enjoy a beer more than once. Hell, that's what beer is meant for. I absolutely love the pursuit of the Perfect Beer and all that entails, but I need to be able to just drink a damn beer once and a while. Especially when I am around other people. I don't want to be writing things down and trying to figure out all the different notes in the glass when talking to my friends.
Should I be doing this at a party? Hell no!
Those times call for something I know I like and will not be disappointed by. I used to hide behind my beer by getting drunk and blacking out. I now use beer as a social lubricant and consume with care. I want to be around when the night ends and to be able to carry a conversation past 10 p.m. is a fun idea too. So when I go out, I am choosing from a great list of beer that is pleasing to the palate, easy on the system and sharable.
Discovering that an everyday beer didn't have to include hangover inducing macro lagers is part of the reason I am here today and with my dogged pursuit of the next great beer in full swing, I have no doubt I will keep adding "go-to" brews to what is a pretty great list already.
Find your "go-to" beers and it will make your evenings full of tasty, yet familiar deliciousness.
My Current Go-To Beer List
All Available at the LCBO
  1. Steamwhistle Pilsner 5.0% - Steamwhistle (CAN)
  2. Pompous Ass Ale  4.2 %- Great Lakes Brewery(CAN)
  3. Lake Effect IPA 7.0 % - Great Lakes Brewery (CAN)
  4. Pale Ale 5.6 % - Sierra Nevada (USA)
  5. Fireside ESB 5.8 %- The Collingwood Brewery (CAN)
  6. Headstock 7.0 % - Nickel Brook Brewing(CAN)
  7. Boneshaker 7.0 %  - Amsterdam Brewing (CAN)
  8. Boston Lager 4.7 % - Samuel Adams (USA)
  9. Barking Squirrel 5.0 % - Hop City Brewing (CAN)
  10. Wells IPA 5.0 % - Charles Wells Brewery (ENG)


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