August 15, 2023

The Endless Spectrum Of Hoppy Delights

Harold, my remarkably hirsute Maine Coon, brushes against my leg and attempts to climb onto my lap as I type this. And I can't blame him. The topic of today's ramblings is a passion of mine, one that never fails to attract my attention like a moth to flame. He may just be here for the warmth of my laptop, but I'd like to think he's here for the enlightening discourse.

We're diving headfirst into the tall, frothy, and sometimes quite peculiar world of beers. An exploration fueled not by the thirst for intoxication, but by the thirst for knowledge (and well, actual thirst). So, let's get started. Don't worry at all about the scope and detail of the topic. It's a journey meant to be savoured like the very beers we'll discover along the way. Much like Harold with his kitty kibble - he approaches each meal as a new adventure, a fresh exploration of flavours! So, bear with me as we navigate the labyrinthine labyrinth of craft beers, traditional brews, and a few that simply defy category.

Navigating The Hoppiness

In my younger and more reckless days, I saw beers in two categories - those which made you want to dance on tables and those which didn't. I have since realized that was a narrow and misguided view. The world of beer is an astonishingly diverse one, and one well worth exploring. Now, I see beers like Harold sees birds, exciting and sometimes elusive prey that deserves my utmost attention and patience. This understanding brings me to the concept of hoppiness.

The level of hoppiness in beer ranges from barely there to punch you in the face. Generally, people equate hoppiness with bitterness, but that's a bit of a simplification. The hops actually create a spectrum of flavours and aromas from floral and citrusy to earthy and pine-like. Understanding this can change your experience, in the same way, that I discovered Harold wasn't just staring blankly at the wall but was actually contemplating the meaning of life (or at least I like to believe so).

Novelty Brews: The Unexpected And Unusual

As we move deeper into our exploration, we find ourselves in the domain of the unusual and unexpected, the novelty brews. It's somewhat akin to Harold's mysterious fascination with chasing his tail – unusual but incredibly entertaining.

These beers don't adhere to conventions. Like the Snake Venom Beer whose alcohol content is a staggering 67%. It's a beer that can compete with spirits in its potency! On a lighter note - you've got flavours like Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale or the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout which incorporates actual, um, bull testicles... Yes, you read it correctly. Intriguing? Disconcerting? That's for you to decide. Similar to the time Harold knocked over my favourite potted plant, some of these brews might surprise you with their bold unpredictability.

Traditional Brews: A Connection To The Past

Then we have the Traditional Brews - beers that have maintained their originality and authenticity over hundreds of years. They are like Harold's inherent cat-like instincts, unchanged and pristinely preserved.

Consider the Belgian Trappist beers brewed by monks, following centuries-old techniques. What about the dense and strong Russian Imperial Stouts reputedly favoured by Catherine the Great? These are time-tested brews that connect us to the past and to various cultures. While I might not understand Harold's obsession with laser pointers, I can appreciate the allure of those flickering lights against the wall; similarly, one might not connect with the brewing traditions but can certainly appreciate their historical significance.

Home Brewing: The Art And Science

Now imagine, instead of having Harold hunt the house for a toy mouse, instructing him to brew his own beer. Absurd? Absolutely. Entertaining? Without a doubt. The same kind of joy and challenge is found in home brewing. It's an intersection of science and creativity that results in the ultimate reward - your very own beer!

From the determination of the malt-hops balance to the influencing of alcohol content, home brewing can be as complex or as simple as you want. With the help of user-friendly home brewing kits and basic understanding, you can embark on this exciting journey. Just remember, patience is key, in brewing and in waiting for Harold to come home after a day's adventure in the neighbourhood.

The Journeys We Chuckled, Chugged And Chose

Just as there was the time Harold somehow ended up stuck on the top branch of the backyard gum tree, sometimes you'll find yourself facing a beer that just doesn't sit right. Don't let that discourage you! As with all things, beer is about exploration, journeying through the good, the bad, and sometimes, the gut-wrenchingly horrible to find your perfect sip.

As this exploration concludes, remember, whether you lean towards hoppier beers, drawn to the traditional brews, intrigued by the novelty blends or inspired by home brewing, the world of beer is expansive and inviting. Being a part of it empowers you to understand, appreciate and savor it more than ever. Now, raise your glass to the marvellous world of beer and guzzle down that hoppy delight akin to Harold devouring his favorite salmon treats. Enjoy the journey!