Beer, like wine, has its share of snobs. People who enjoy beer for the complex flavors it offers, not just as a means to a drunken end. Beer snobs talk about beer in mystical terms, terms that describe the aroma, the taste and the alcohol content of a particular brew. They wax poetic about the influences a brewer may have had for brewing a certain style of beer. They get into deep conversations about the virtues of Belgian versus German beers. Each has his or her own favorite style. And each is more than willing to tell you all about why they like that particular style.
But, another thing you should know about these beer snobs is that they began their beer journey in much the same way as anyone — buying the major brands. But, for many, the yellow, fizzy mega-brews just did not satisfy. Some decided to experiment with “gateway beers” like Guinness or Blue Moon, others dove right in and tried an IPA, Belgian quad or an Imperial stout. No matter how they discovered their love for better beer, it is certain that most will never go back to mass-produced brands. Now they exist in a world in which flavor actually existed.
In this, the beer festival season, will you become a beer snob? Opportunities abound for you to taste a wide variety of styles ranging from mild to wild. As this is National Craft Beer Week, there is no shortage of events to appease your new mistress. Restaurants and bars, tap room and taverns are adding special tappings, dinners and tastings to their schedules. In addition, there is the crowning jewel of the week: the taking place at Veterans Memorial Arena this Friday, May 16.
The Sixth Annual Jacksonville Craft & Import Beer Festival will feature hundreds of beers from over 45 breweries. Included in those breweries are several local breweries and a sneak preview of the beers that will be available at the soon-to-be-open Veteran’s United Craft Brewery. But, if you plan to go, get your tickets now as they are going fast. The organizers cut back the number of tickets sold to 2,500 this year to make the event more intimate and less crowded than years past.
Becoming a beer snob sneaks up on you sometimes. One minute you are perfectly happy drinking an MGD and the next someone puts a pint of a hoppy pale ale in front of you and you are hooked. The surprising realization that flavor and nuance do exist in beer assaults your senses like napalm devouring an overgrown forest. You seek out more interesting beers and crawl the pubs of your town for taps of Rogue, Flying Dog, and Dogfish Head. Slowly you feel yourself changing. Coors no longer holds your interest; you drop it like an infatuation and begin to stalk your true love – flavorful, lovingly-crafted beers made by artisans not computers. You realize, as you prowl the beer aisle of your local liquor store, looking for a six-pack of Hopslam that you have become a beer snob.
Good beer is an obsession. It gets under your skin and pushes you to try new concoctions. Some go the purest route, only looking for beers made using traditional methods and ingredients. Others look for the more unique brews created by the avant garde brewers of the craft scene. But all agree that beer, in its many forms and style, is good.
Tickets to the Jacksonville Craft & Import Beer Festival can be purchased at www.beerfestjax.com and are $55 for VIP and $40 for general admission. VIP ticket-holders are treated to entry an hour early (5:00 p.m.) and access to special beers not available to general admission guests. General admission ticket-holders may enter the event at 6:00 p.m., the festival ends at 9:00 p.m. All guests will receive:
• 5oz Beer Sampling glass
• Silent Auction
• Sampling of beverages and food
• Music Acts
As always, be sure to drink responsibly and NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE. If you have had too much to drink please call a cab or, a more stylish option is Uber car service. Simply download the Uber app from your app store and sign up. If you use the signup code, l2jkr, you will receive a $20 credit for your first ride!