10 Things You Should Know About Beer and Brewing

Two Chicago experts tell us what they wish they’d known before they started drinking and making beer

(page 2 of 2)

As told to Jenna Marotta
 

5 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Drinking Beer
 

Ray Daniels, founder and director of the Cicerone Certification Program

The man behind the Chicago-based Cicerone Certification Program (a cicerone is to beer what a sommelier is to wine), Ray Daniels was 11 when he sipped his very first brew, a Schlitz his dad gave him after a long day at the Indy 500. Here he shares insights acquired in the intervening 42 years.

Name: Ray Daniels
Occupation: Founder and director of the Cicerone Certification Program

1) “There’s a myth that beer is like a can of soup: inert and unchanging once it leaves the factory. Nothing could be further from the truth. There’s a reason why we have brown bottles. They block certain wavelengths of light that can affect the flavor of the beer—what we call skunking.”

2) “How the heck do you appreciate the aroma of a beer from a bottle? You have to decant it—and use two hands: one to hold the glass, one to pour the beer. When you pour down the side, you minimize foam, but a microthin head means flat beer—the typical sports bar pour. And if you only pour down the middle, you get a glass that’s half foam—pretty much undrinkable. For proper formation, start by pouring down the side, then finish by pouring down the middle.”

3) “Drink with your nose. If your beer smells like movie theatre popcorn or vinegar, that’s not good. It’s likely the draft system hasn’t been cleaned properly.”

4) “The alcohol content of beers can vary widely, from 4 to 12 percent. Know that beers vary in strength—and pay attention.”

5) “Despite all this, beer is and should be a simple pleasure. How long are you in the same room with your beloved before you kiss? In other words, don’t spend a lot of time looking and pondering. When you order a beer, you’re thirsty.”

RELATED:
36 BEST CHICAGO CRAFT BEERS | TOP BARS, GASTROPUBS, AND LIQUOR STORES
CHICAGO’S BEER SCHOOL | CRAFT BEER PICKS FROM THE PROS
HOW TO THROW A BEER TASTING PARTY | CRAFT BEER WEEK PICS
BEER TASTING SHEET (PDF)

 

Photograph: Anna Knott

Share

Advertisement

Submit your comment