What beer means to me

If you're only visiting this blog for the first time, you would quickly notice that the general theme about this beer is beer and heck - all about beer. If you know me, you know I love trying new beer all the time, I get bored easily so I need to try something new every once in a while.

What does beer mean to me?
Beer to me is part of our history, our culture, our pride and even in our soul. Beer starts from the barley and wheat fields on the prairies, planted & harvested by farmers like my dad and even myself. The barley and wheat eventually gets malted and it ends up at a local brewery, where people just like you and me, people who just genuinely love beer put their hard labour and love into every batch of beer. The brewmasters are beer chemists where they play around with ingredients until the recipe is just right! It's amazing how complex yet delicious the process is - starting from the field, ends up in your pint glass (and then, your tummy)!

Just meeting with a few brewmasters and brewery owners in my days, I can see how much love and passion these people put into the product. I get giddy when talking about beer and when I get to try a beer I've always wanted to try - it's Christmas morning all over again! Believe it or not, there's people much more giddy about beer than myself. Every time I go into Winnipeg, I make a stop over at Fort Garry to chat with head brewer Matt, and I can say - he's the most passionate person in the beer industry I've met yet. Passion about beer is exactly what we need and oh boy - you know I'm absolutely passionate about it.

Every province, state and country has a certain style of beer or brewery that they call their own. On the prairies, pilsner and lagers have generally been the style of choice for several decades. However, with microbreweries slowly popping up throughout the countryside, this will change. Breweries like Half Pints, Paddock Wood and Wildrose all brew beers that the owners and brewmasters themselves would want to drink, not what Jimmy Lite would like to drink, so you see beer that are jam-packed with flavour - lots of hops, complex flavours and even some infusions (ie serrano pepper). I made fun of the prairie beer industry a lot back in the day, but hey - I can honestly say that prairie breweries can make beer just as good as Quebec, Ontario, BC and USA, if not better - in many cases - much much better!

A while back, I actually hit rock bottom and had an alcohol problem - drinking a 6 pack of less than desirable beer every day - frankly, it took a toll on me, and hangovers and waking up at 4PM just weren't worth it anymore. I cut my consumption significantly and promised to only drink better beer from now on, or as I say: drink less, drink better! I'm not as broke thanks to cutting consumption, but instead of drinking a 6er of swill every day, I can actually buy good beer once in a while instead. I feel better now, I get to try new beer whenever it comes out, and you know what? Good beer with moderation can be great for your health! Have a pint of Unibroue instead of a 6er of Old Milwaukee.

Thanks to my Twitter, I made a significant amount of friends and got to try some beers I would have never tried otherwise (such as Dieu du Ciel) and the conversations and all the pints had during those times were absolutely amazing. Not only that, I discovered that there were actually a great deal of people in my own farm town that were interested in trying new beers as well. I always get excited when someone will message me asking for suggestions for beer, it makes me feel like I'm making a difference. This blog and the Twitter helped keep me busy and active during a significant unemployment era.

Lastly, discovering last summer that beer works incredibly well in recipes made me think of beer completely different as well. Did you know that you can substitute water & yeast in a pizza recipe for a can or bottle of beer? I never knew until I ran out of yeast one day - and damn.. it was delicious! I've experimented with beer in recipes since and hope to one day make a maple stout pulled pork sandwich, with amber ale buns.

While 99% of my columns generally get overlooked and somehow my reviews of swill gets thousands of views, I appreciate all the comments I've gotten over the past year since I started this blog, and since 2004 on my original blog (which is now defunct).

What does beer mean to you?

Cheers!

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