Monday, February 28, 2011

Regular Beer

(This is a post intended for participation in Session #49 "Regular Beer" in which people all over the internet share a beer or three and post about their thoughts on it.)

These days, when I want a regular beer, I think of my own homebrew "Ordinary Bitter". Mine is an attempt to make a beer I want to drink everyday and all night. The ordinary English bitter is a beer that has been somewhat left out of the hop-obsessed craft beer world. There are a few out there, but not many, and especially not many that are drinkable in the way the classic English bitters are.

More specifically, the bitters I write of are typically the basic bitters that is on tap at every pub in the motherland. I mean the beer that is pumped out of the cellar and often has a nice haze in the imperial pint you hold. It is a beer inoffensive enough to down in fit of thirst, but you tend to enjoy casually. It is the beer that you appreciate because it settles into the background of your pub visit. It is also the beer that most inspired me to start homebrewing.

I'm a big fan of beers from Fullers, Greene King, etc., but they aren't always readily available here in Tennessee, nor are they particularly affordable to consume on a daily basis. Besides that, with so far to travel to get to my glass, English bitters aren't the freshest beers available. So I decided to brew my own.

I actually first started with Special Bitters (and I try to keep a keg of that around, too). The problem I found was that after a glass or two of my Special Bitter, at around 7% ABV, the rest of my evening was pretty much shot. The solution was to go the route of an ordinary bitter and attempt to keep my edge. After a few years of brewing and experimentation, I have narrowed my recipe down pretty well, but I still tweak it here and there.

So back to the session and my regular beer. It is the beer I drink when I have 30 minutes to relax before I have somewhere to be. It is the beer I start with when I know I have a long night of drinking. It is the beer I drink when my drinking isn't about the beer. My ordinary bitter is a malty beer with some tasty but subdued hop flavor. It tends to pour with a big head but separates nicely and leaves the history of my imbibing with a healthy layered lacing down the glass, which is typically an imperial pint. My bitter tastes much like the smell of the wort boiling, and I like it that way. My regular beer is cheaper than Schlitz, smoother than Sam Adams, as clear as a Sierra Nevada, and tastier than all of them. Regular beer is better than craft beer when it's homebrew.

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