6 New Beer’s Resolutions for 2017
How to make beer a bigger and better part of life in the coming year
Happy New Beer! | Photo: Bruce Glassman
Try a new exercise regimen! Try saving more money! Try volunteering more! Try cutting fat and sugar out of your diet! Everybody’s got their own thoughts and advice about how make 2017 the best year ever. Well, here’s my two cents: Drink more beer.
Now, when I say, “Drink more beer,” I don’t mean all at once. I’m not advocating intemperance or lack of self-restraint, but I am advocating the idea that beer should be a big part of everyone’s life. Beer makes us happy. And, as they say, there’s no such thing as too much happiness.
As I thought about ways to make beer a bigger and better part of daily life in the coming year, I came up with six basic ideas—call them “strategies,” if you will. Here’s my suggested game plan:
1. Try a hazy beer
Want to keep up with the newest trend in craft beer? Go turbid! “Turbid beer” is another term for “hazy beer,” and everybody’s doing it. In a nutshell, hazy beers are made by using yeast strains that don’t flocculate (cling together) as much as the traditional strains do—the traditional strains being the ones that produce the clear beers. The resulting cloudiness is actually caused by some of the yeast remaining suspended in the beer. Proponents of the haze craze say that turbid beers have a richer, more satisfying mouthfeel, as well as more powerful bursts of hoppy aroma. Hard-liners criticize hazy beers because they feel the cloudiness detracts from the visual appeal of the beer (clarity has always traditionally been one of the characteristics upon which a beer is judged), but pro-hazers find the cloudy aesthetic just as appealing; many say they think haziness make a beer look “juicy.” Lots of San Diego breweries are doing hazy beers now, so—if you haven’t already—go to a tasting room and do a side-by-side flavor comparison of your own.
2. Try a little guy
We have tons of great large and mid-sized breweries in San Diego, and dozens of their beers are readily available at pubs and on retail shelves all over the county. But the vast majority of breweries in San Diego are small, family-owned operations who rely on selling everything (or nearly everything) they make directly to their customers in a tasting room. For that reason, if you really want to help support our local industry, you should make an effort to seek out the smallest among us and give them a taste. In addition to helping those who need it most, you’ll likely also be drinking beer that’s been made on a tiny, mostly manual system that often produces some of the most satisfying, truly handcrafted beer.
3. Make a convert
As a rule, I don't like proselytizing, but once in a while, I actually feel it’s my duty as an upstanding San Diego citizen. I can’t help it: When I hear someone say they don’t like beer (or that they’ve never had a San Diego beer!) I simply can’t resist the urge to start speechifying. I realize that there are non-beer people in the world and that some beer people will not be fans of the West Coast approach to brewing, but regardless of where they finally come down, I feel obligated to make the case for San Diego beer above all else. My suggestion to you—if you share my enthusiasm—is to make sure you pass that enthusiasm along to others and do your best to convince the doubters that San Diego is truly the scene. Certainly, for those who have never tried beer (or have only had very limited exposure) there’s probably no better place in the world to sample, sip, taste, and test all the styles and flavors that beer can offer.
4. Ask for San Diego beer wherever you go
This suggestion follows, to a large extent, from the previous one. It’s not only important to voice your preferences to friends and family (which will, in turn, enrich their lives!), it’s also important to be a proponent of San Diego beer while your traveling or dining out. Did a server at a San Diego restaurant just hand you a beer list with only one or two (or no) selections from local breweries? Let them know you’re disappointed. Are they offering only bottles? Let them know you’re really disappointed there’s no draft. And don’t stay silent when you’re out of town; even when I’m in L.A. or San Francisco (or New York or Chicago), if a place is billing itself as a “craft beer” pub or bar and there are no San Diego suds on offer, I do let them know that I feel their selection is woefully inadequate (yes, I’m “one of those” customers).
5. Let San Diego beer show you San Diego
There are so many good breweries in all corners of our very large and beautiful county, so I suggest that you make it a point to visit a brewery or two that will take you to a region you don’t normally see. If you live in Oceanside, go visit a brewery in Santee. If you live in Ramona, go check out a brewery in Carlsbad. Live in North Park? Sure, you’re surrounded by tons of great beer options, but you should still head up to Vista or San Marcos once in a while and enjoy some new beers in new surroundings.
6. New beers, all the time
This is the one constant I try to keep in mind from year to year: always try new beers. Lots of beer drinkers get stuck in a rut; whether it’s one particular beer or brand, or one particular style, people tend to find one thing they really like and stick with it. But we tend to forget that we can really like more than one thing at a time. Are you a big IPA fan? Have you tried a coffee IPA? How about a red IPA? Maybe even give a Brett IPA a try? There are so many varieties and styles—and so many breweries that make them—you’ll always have an amazing number of options available to you, as long as you remain open to the idea of always expanding your palate by trying new things. If you do, I guarantee your future will be bubbly and bright. Happy New Year.