Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Welcome to The Hop Station!

Hi all,

Welcome to my brand new, beer-centric blog.

My goal is to post beer reviews with my actual opinions, as well as any thoughts that pop into my head as I'm drinking the beers. I've read one too many beer reviews that are strictly clinical - listing the properties of the beer without any indication of how the writer actually feels about the experience they had drinking it. Okay, so it's amber in color with fruit esters and healthy lacing on the glass - does this excite you? Did it disappoint you? Was the beer everything you hoped for when you snagged it out of the cooler at the package store? I want to really express my thoughts surrounding the beer, and tell you whether I want you to try it, or steer clear. I won't even bother giving it an A thru F grade - you'll be able to tell how I feel about it by the end of the post.

A couple other things I'd like to try out:

 - Compare beers to each other. It sounds like a simple concept, but I can't tell you how helpful I would find this when shopping for something new. Is that new IPA more similar to Dogfish Head or Samuel Smith? Is the new $15 Belgian import worth the money, or is it underwhelming compared to it's cheaper domestic counterpart? There's no point in reading clinical reviews of two new pale ales, just to find out that they're both medium bodied with a hop-forward nose. Which one was better? Did either of them surprise you?

 - Blind taste tests. I try very hard to keep myself in the "beer geek" circle and not veer off into "beer snob" territory. If you're even taking the time to read this blog, then you know that the "Big 3" are crap and that there's a whole world of craft beer out there waiting to be enjoyed (or you're my family and I made you come here to generate page views. Hi Mom!). However, I've been known to drink a Keystone Light or two on a hot summer day. I'm not so upper-crust that I must drink the nectar of the gods or go thirsty. That being said, it would be interesting to see which "crappy" beers really aren't so crappy, and which "good" beers maybe aren't so great, when you don't have the pre-knowledge of the label to influence your taste buds.

 - Reviews of breweries, brew pubs, beer bars, and package stores. Which places have the best stuff? Is there a pizza joint with a surprising selection of local craft beers on tap? Is there a brewpub that's trying out experimental brews, rather than just resting on their laurels with an unremarkable blonde ale to go with their chicken wings? Is there a local package store with a "mixer-sixer" section? Sometimes the places you go to get the beer are just as interesting as the beer itself.

 - Go off topic. This blog is going to be centered around beer, but it's really more of a lifestyle blog. If I'm out to dinner somewhere and get a remarkably good Manhattan instead of a beer, you're going to hear about it. Same goes for wine, cheese, or whatever type of Doritos taco I had for Fourth Meal. Also, expect pop culture to seep in from time to time (especially when Ommegang releases their Game of Thrones beers).

I'll post my first few reviews this week, and we'll see how it goes from there. Hopefully we can get a cool little community going on in the comments section, yelling and screaming at each other. See you on the internet!

 - Brett.

tl;dr - drink beer.

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