Time to put on your beer goggles

Recently, in an attempt to challenge my pallet with new beers and continue my journey as a beer advocate, I started a beer club. The first rule of beer club is don’t talk about beer club, but that’s mostly because people will think you’re a giant nerd. The second rule of beer club is … actually, there are not a lot of rules that govern beer club. We have a few structural pieces, but beyond that it has turned out to be exactly what I was hoping to accomplish — a standing social gathering of like-minded individuals who wish to pontificate on the virtues of various beers. Essentially, we drink beer and talk about it.

You may be asking yourself, “Why would I form a ‘beer club?’ I’m a poor college student who’d rather drink beer than talk about it.” I implore you: Think beyond the Keystone and over-crowded house parties and look to the mahogany-rich scents and leather-bound books that are beer club.

Take it from me, I’m old and have been around the block a few times, there is nothing to be learned about beer from a typical college house party that offers Keystone or, in the case of Montana, Montucky Cold Snacks. Just like the aforementioned beers, a party like this will only leave you empty and wishing for more. We are an enlightened generation who does not need small talk to win the affection of others, so why not just enjoy life to the fullest? Beer club is not about getting hammered, it’s about expanding your knowledge and enjoyment of beer.

“But what about the hotties?” People of all genders and persuasions have been known to enjoy beer. If you’re hitting that party to find someone sweet, why not invite them to beer club as well? Impress them with your sophisticated coolness rather than your stumbling drunk table dancing or beer pong “skills.” Anybody can toss a ping pong ball, but not everyone can accurately identify “the orange part of a chocolate orange” flavor note in a delicious beer. Intelligence is way more attractive than drunkenness. Trust me, I’ve been married twice.

It’s not all pomp and circumstance, though, we also have a lot of fun. Our beer club created our own rating scale based on science and logic (or just stupid silliness rather). Each beer is evaluated from 1-17 in units of “Jim Bridgers (JBs).”  For instance, “Espresso Imperial Russian Stout” by Stone Brewing Co. was awarded 15 JBs and we decided it had flavor notes Kalu, and flourless torte. It was an awesome beer I recommend to the burley among us.

I recommend each person who plans on attending a beer club bring either a Bomber*, Growler* or six pack. We use 2-ounce glasses and pour samples that we all enjoy at the same time. We end up drinking what many pubs and breweries refer to as a “flight.” A flight of beer is often something you can order that will provide you with 4-8 two-ounce samples of beer. This can be a great way to try a lot without having to commit to multiple full pints.

Finally, make a beer club of your own. In my longer term plan, I see food being incorporated and even a drinking song or two. Send us some stories from your own beer club adventures and perhaps you’ll see your words gracing the columns of my next article.

*bomber – a 22-fluid ounce (650 ml) glass bottle for beer [http://www.ratebeer.com/lexicon.asp]

*growler – a one-gallon (3.785 litre) glass jug, clear or brown glass usually, typically sold at brewpubs for the sake of getting beer to go [http://www.ratebeer.com/lexicon.asp]