help identify Funky Micro -brew taste!
- jjb75 Nov 9, 2006 04:37 AM
I love beer. I have tried a lot of them. My favorites are Guiness, Shiner Bock, PBR, a good German Helles like Augustiner, Rauchbier from the Bamberg area of Germany and sometimes a good Belgian ale like Duvel or Hoegaarden.
I can't stand 98% of micro brews that I have tasted because I think they have a really funky, kind of bitter taste.
What is that and why is everyone else so crazy over microbrews???
Sometimes microbrewers go a little heavy on the hops, or maybe they use a different hop...I don't know.
I'll say that I don't like a lot of the microbrews, either.
A bunch of them are better on draft, I think.
I'm 99% sure I know the answer to this...
Are you drinking the beer:
1) Straight out of a bottle?
2) On tap from a "slow pour down the side" OR...
3) From a "hard pour" that foams and aereates the microbrew ??
For a vast majority of micros, "3" is the only way to taste them. There are so many Pale ales and IPA's, for example, that have a tight, bitter taste until they are aereated... just like decanting a fine wine, great beer needs to BREATHE...
When you do this you will open up all sorts of floral and sweet flavors and aromas in the microbrews... Pale Ales, BarleyWines, Imperial Pale Ales, even Stouts... it goes for all "full-bodied" micros, you really need to decant them with a hard foamy pour and give them a minute or two to settle in the glass...
THEN, if you still prefer PBR, you might want to check with a taste-bud doctor.
You've identified a range of styles that you like - but the common thread in all of them is that they are maltier styles. My guess is that the craft brews you have tasted are hoppier styles.
What you need to do are to identify the malty styles brewed by craft brewers and focus on those. Such styles would include Lagers, Scottish Ales, Wee Heavies, Bocks (including Maibocks and Doppelbocks), Milk and Oatmeal Stouts (some Dry Stouts can be quite hoppy), Porters, any of the Wheat beers and most Belgian styles (seek out Allagash or New Belgium).
I started out on the malty end of things and slowly moved in the hoppy direction. Now I like both ends of the spectrum, but prefer the hoppy styles.
I agree with brentk - American microbrews, especially pale ales and IPAs, tend to be very heavily hopped compared to the beers you mentioned as your favorites. Many people who are used to British/European styles feel that Americans have gone way overboard in that regard. Personally, though, the hoppy ones are my favorites. In particular, I love Southern Tier IPA, Victory Hop Devil, Smuttynose IPA, and occasionally even a Weyerbacher "Hops Infusion" ale, though that one is a little bit over the top even for me.
The complaint about "bitter taste" is the dead giveaway here. As many others have pointed out, it sounds like you're not much of a hop fan. Your list of favorites gives that away as well.
Try some less aggressively hopped microbrews. Some good ones are Stone Smoked Porter, Avery White Rascal, and Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale. Sounds like you should steer clear of pale ales and India pale ales, as those tend to be more hoppy than most (none of your stated favorites qualify as either style).
The bad news is it doesn't look like you like the bittering quailities of hops. The good news is, for most it is usually an acquired taste. The more you have, the more your pallette will get used to it, the more you will like it, and eventually even crave it.
I'm curious to know - how do you take your coffee? Sweetened or non?
It's okay to not like hoppy beers. However you might try some seasonals at your local micro-pub. Tell them what you like. This is the perfect time of year for the maltier holiday brews that nano-breweries put out.
Many of the more well known ones, you name it and I've probably tried it. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout recently and one I really couldn't drink at all was called Dominion Oak Barrel Stout. Also one called Troegs Sunshine Pils stands out.
I do like most of the beers from North Coast Brewing Company, though.
At first i thought your major problem was with hops, but now i really dont understand. I have never had a problem with a "funky" taste from any microbrews unless they were sitting around for along time. The Brooklyn you had is very good in my opinion, a nice example of a mellow stout.
I tend to favour the hoppier beers myself, but like someone above said, hops are an acquired taste. Many of the more well regarded micro brews from throughout the states are heavy handed with their hops, so i tend to drink these. I also happen to live in San Diego so i tend to drink alot of the local stuff which is mostly excellent(and highly hopped). I dont know where you live but drinking locally will probably ensure you get a fresher beer if that is part of the problem.
After reading through the comments and posts, I think MVNYC may have hit on it: it's not the hops...it may be old beer. If your local beer store carries old inventory, you may be tasting a bit of the funk of old beer. Most beer is best fresh and local.
As for the oak-aged Dominion Stout, that may just be an acquired taste.
Recommendation: every week, buy four or so beers of the same style (Pilsner, IPA, etc). Include a respected local and make sure all are fresh. Then evaluate what style you like (and don't like). I'm convinced that nearly everyone in the world would like beer if they only knew what style they prefer.
But I'm biased, because I really like beer.
In my experience old beer typically might taste a bit tired, and might have some cardboard taste from oxidation, but not a bitter funk as the OP seems to be experiencing. Furthermore, imported beer would more likely be old than craft beer, and it's not likely that almost all the microbrews the OP has tried have been past their prime.
Hmmmm...could this be Occam's Razor in action? The OP simply doesn't like hops? OP, what do you say?
I was at a bar once indulging in something like Bud Light and I too issued a complaint about what I then regarded as the nasty taste which accompanied so many micro brews. Asked I, "What is it, anyway?" Said those at the table drinking micro brews, "Flavor." He he. Served me right.