June 2017 by Ginger Johnson
Summer is upon us and beer is abundant. I often joke that Beer Season is from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Truth for all of us though is that there are flavorful beers available year-round. We’re living in a luckily robust gustatory age.
So, what flavors are hot this summer for beer? According to a number of online resources, spices such as cardamom, lemongrass, cinnamon and (a personal favorite) ginger are “in”. Five minutes doing a bit of searching online will yield myriad options for what to look for trending flavors, if you like to seek new and unique.
Here’s the deal:
- These flavors aren’t new, they’re simply trending right now. The good news = great news for drinkers! Simply enjoy the flavors you like, as you like them. Withhold any judgement, be a diplomat and really relax into the experience of tasting to get the most out of it.
- Be sure to explore. Preconceived notions and biases hold us back from discovering new flavors. Order a sample of a beer that may seem outlandish to you, share it with your flavor exploring friends, and then decide if you want a full serving. By the way, it’s really the second sip that will tell you what you prefer. The first sip warms us up – the second tells the truth.
- All the spices and flavors you read about now have been used for literally ever, in some sort of capacity. In fact, this renaissance of using ‘unique’ flavors is simply that: a renaissance. We cycle through flavors just as we cycle through fashion.
- Embrace the unusual. Since I love to cook, when I go out to eat, I seek dishes on menus that have something different from my home larder and buying habits. Experimenting with various new-to-you beer flavors will help an open-minded taster keep the joy of discovery alive and growing.
As a flavor explorer, I encourage you to also seek out the brands you already enjoy – find out what they are making, fresh for the season and give those a try. My rule of thumb is that, even if I’ve tried it and didn’t particularly care for it previously, if I’ve not tasted it in the last 90 days, then I give it another taste. Our sensory systems change as we change, age and grow. The open mind is truly the best palate enhancer around.
Look for and ask for dates of tapping and packaging. Beer is a perishable product. It’ll be best 1. at the source and 2. fresh. Inquire with the server, retailer and distributor as to what the date coding may be for the beer you’re buying. Beer wants to give you the best possible experience (yes, it does) and freshness has everything to do with it. When you notice out of date beer, particularly packaged beer, ask the seller what they have that’s fresh.
Questions? Be sure to reach out anytime, reference Basil & Salt, and I’ll be happy to help as I can via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time, cheers ~
You can find Ginger at the links below and also follow her on Twitter.