Hops on tops

By Nick O'Malley

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Beer is a wonderful thing, best described in verse:

A nice brew is a great thing to drink, but beyond the light lagers, few people think. There is the noble ale, be it brown or pale. There is the rich, flavorful stout, an equal it is without. There is also the deep porter, which always brings your taste buds to order. But, in college it’s awful-tasting Keystone or Natty Ice. So when you drink too much, you taste puke twice.

There are people out there that say they don’t like beer when, in reality, their experiences are quite drear. Beer, of course, being high quality beer. The thinking out there is that most beer is like the heavily-commercialized norm that’s shown on TV or the stuff that people bring to parties in dorms in 30-rack or keg form.

I was at a party recently – growler night at our apartment – when one of my friends mentioned that beer wasn’t his cup of tea. Knowing that he was wrong, I offered him a taste of the growler (half-gallon jug) of the Berkshire Brewing Company’s Drayman’s porter I had just bought. He responded: “Beer is for me.”

It’s unfortunate that the popular image of beer is something to be chugged or drank as a penalty for a ball going into a cup. It sucks that, particularly in college, it’s offered flat and warm at frat parties or from securing it from a last ditch hookup.

Like most things, the best parts of beer go beyond what television commercials say is legit. Don’t say you don’t like beer if you’ve never tried anything that didn’t have light in the name or didn’t have a stadium named after it.

By no means a beer snob – though I try my best, but each time I visited a new country while abroad, I found a new beer to digest. It doesn’t take much to realize that a good beer goes beyond grabbing a couple Sam Adams and calling it a day. One has to take the advice of a few beer enthusiasts – listen to what they say

That’s not to say that Sam Adams doesn’t make a good beer, it’s true that they can. The problem is that most guys, like my friend Dave, think that the Sam Adams Summer Ale is God’s gift to man.

However, the main draw to the Sam Adams brand is that it’s the go to source of an above average beer option for people not in the know. And they think they don’t like beer, so there’s nowhere to go.

Here’s where you’re wrong. Just imagine it as a song.

The first beer that people try when moving up from the bottom of the vat, is Magic Hat.

The No.9 variety is certainly a crowd favorite. With a taste sweeter than most and a smooth finish, anyone can savor it.

BBC’s Drayman’s Porter is definitely my jam. It’s like in the growler, since it doesn’t come in a can. Most people that try a Bud Light, or another lager-type drink. But a porter’s about as far away from a lager as you can think. It’s thick, sweet, full-bodied taste. But it’s a bit pricey, so make sure none goes to waste.

Though pumpkin beers may be off the shelves, you might be able to find some with a harvest spice. For those who are new to beer, the lighter taste and familiar flavor will certainly suffice.

Because I was in Ireland, I’m probably biased, but stouts are standing in my mind as probably the highest. My top pick Murphy’s is difficult to find. But you can find a nice Guinness most of the time. The darker beers are actually not as heavy as they seem. They’re less harsh than lagers and make drinking a dream.

It goes without saying that cheaper beers are more for the cost. But, in terms of alcohol and taste, the hops’ waters just not worth the lower cost.

So when someone expresses their opinion on a traditional brew, you, fair reader, know just what to do. Take the Bud, Miller, Busch or Keystone right out of their hand and give them something of a not-so advertised brand.

Your local liquor store has plenty of options behind the class. Not sure what to do? Just ask.

Nick O’Malley is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]