Those that know me know that I like to climb mountains. I would consider my interest in hiking to approach the level of enthusiast. In the past several years, I have hiked several thousand miles, including over half of the Appalachian Trail.
However, hiking was not one of my main interests several years ago. In fact, before I was tallying unique AT miles, I was logging quite a few choice craft beers, many of which I have written about on this very forum.
My friend Justin first introduced me to the phrase “climbing up beer mountain.” When he first proposed it to me, I wasn’t sure exactly what the phrase was alluding to, and asked him to explain the phrase.
He told me that the beer mountain was the journey craft beer enthusiasts take. First, one typically “graduates” from interest in mass produced brews by large manufacturers such as the Buds, and Millers, etc. Then a beer enthusiast seeks out craft offerings that appeal to ones tastes, easy transitions so to speak, like drinking craft offerings in the line of pilsners, lagers, hefeweizens, and brown ales. Once sated with these style, the climbers journey can progress to bolder styles, porters, stouts, and ipas. Even further up the climb a craft beer enthusiast may find an interest in barrel-aged beers, and possibly sours. The enthusiast may then begin seeking breweries outside of ones immediate location, for a more unique experience. After this step, the seeker may go even further, seeking out rare, expensive, options, to check of his or her list. Eventually, this person will get to the top of the mountain, and have no further to go in their journey.
They may still be a fan of craft beer, but they may start limiting their search for rare beers. They may then rediscover their local craft beer scene, and have a greater appreciation for their local breweries. They may back away from some more intense styles, and move “down” to stouts, porters, or ipas. Eventually palettes may change even further, and an appreciation for clean, crisp styles may resurface, as one comes to the base of the mountain.
Is this how every beer drinkers journey goes, no, I’m sure this is not the case for everyone. What I can say is, in my current state of enjoying libations, I am definitely coming down Beer Mountain. While doing so, I have also developed an increased appreciation for bourbons as I descend.. This doesn’t mean I won’t try a different barrel-aged stout, or a sour, but if I am to choose something for which I have a new found appreciation, it is definitely pilsners.
Tonight i am offering a crisp, concise, and easy to imbibe review of a wonderful style of beer, and one for which I have a renewed appreciation, the pilsner.
Jester King Unfiltered Pilsner – As this is an unfiltered offering, this pilsner does more closely mimic a hefeweizen with its cloudy straw color. Minimal head tops the brew, and the smell is clean, light, and grainy, with faint notes of hay, and citrus. The body is smooth, clean, and immensely quaffable. The light flavors of golden malts, delicate hops, slight bitterness, and a wheat cereal flavor complete this beer. This is perfect for any relaxing occasion, but would be perfect on a deck, in mid June, 80 degrees showing on the thermometer, with the spicy notes of bratwurst cooking on the grill, wafting through the air. 9/10
Wherever you are in the journey, whether you are climbing beer mountain, descending it, or whether you just appreciate a good pilsner, I raise a glass to you my friend, and wish you well.