Newfoundland has long been the domain of industrial lagers or convenience beers, as the big names we know so well are commonly referred to.
A variety of beers. — Photo by Thinkstock.com
We all have our favourites, be it Black Horse, Coors Light or Blue Star. Some are only brewed in Newfoundland for our domestic market, while others such as Bud Light can be found almost anywhere in the world.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but have you noticed that most of them tend to look and taste quite similar? This is certainly true when you line them up against a type of beer that is entirely different — Guinness, for example.
In reality, almost all of the big brand beers we see are American lagers, according to the Beer Judge Certification Program Style Guidelines — the most common reference in North America.
Guinness, on the other hand, is a dry stout.
The world of beer is vast.
There are more than 20,000 brands of beer in more than 180 styles produced around the world according to brandsoftheworld.com.
That may or may not include other related fermented drinks such as chicha in Central and South America.
It’s a moving target, as the craft beer market is exploding in many parts of the world and brewers are inventing recipes for new beers and styles every day.
It’s not uncommon to run into someone who says they don’t like beer.
I’m always compelled to say they just haven’t found the right one yet. This often leads to discussion about what other kinds of beers are out there or, maybe more importantly, what kinds of flavours and aromas are out there. My answer is: too many to know them all, but I’m sure I could find one to fit.
There are beers wine lovers fall for and others that cocktail fans get into. I would say that for anyone who enjoys alcoholic drinks of any type, there are beers that will resonate with their palate; again, it comes down to finding the right one.
Our liquor stores traditionally haven’t been known for a large selection of different styles, but this is changing and we are currently enjoying the widest variety that we’ve ever seen.
The opportunities to try new beer and learn about them have also grown immensely in recent years through projects such as the beer club offerings and the beer tasting events that are popping up more and more.
In St. John’s, tasting events have included beer themed fundraisers with local organizations such as the Autism Society, and beer-paired dinners such as the one held at Bitters late last fall.
In March, Marble Mountain is offering a getaway ski weekend with an Après Ski Beer Tasting event on the Sunday. There are plans building for more tasting events all the time, including in Labrador.
Right now, I think Newfoundland is not such a bad place to be a beer lover. We have some excellent beers to choose from in both the permanent selections and the growing number of seasonal offerings at our chosen NLC stores.
Our local microbreweries are also stepping out with more new and interesting recipes.
If you’re looking for lunch downtown, why not stop in for pizza at YellowBelly and try one of Liam’s excellent beers? Stopping at the liquor store for something to bring home? Why not grab one of Quidi Vidi’s six packs. Their British IPA has been a hit since they released it. Storm Brewing has their regular lineup available, too.
Isn’t it time to try something new?
Mike Buhler is a certified cicerone.
Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or check out beerthief.ca for information
on beer club offerings.