Sunday, November 12, 2017

WEEK 118--Beer.Vegan.Zhusi

I have heard of Yorocco since few years back but never had the chance to sample any since their supply hardly go out of Zhusi--a quiet small town 1 hour by train from Tokyo--for those who noticed or were at this year's MBCC( or CBC as it was known before)--Yorocco was the only Japanese craft brew invited for that mother of all craft event in Copenhagen.
来之前,几年前已听闻过有一家小酿坊叫Yorocco,  酿品水准很不错,不过因为量少,很难在东京找到,要喝到这家酿坊啤酒最佳方式只能是到距离逗子市JR站不远处,一星期只开两三天,全日本唯一专属品饮室去。
有趣的是,品饮室藏身于一间感觉很居家邻里,叫Beach Muffin的素食小店内,单从门面外观看不出酒吧痕迹,比较像隔壁老王寻常店家作为Yorocco 专属品饮室(只有5个啤酒泵,不卖任何其他酿坊啤酒,也不卖瓶子),这里感觉一点都不像餐厅酒吧,而是很舒适惬意的家居客厅,就像去到朋友家那样。
This recent trip to Tokyo was basically a rainy week, it was almost raining everyday, so the thought of going out to a Vegan restaurant in Zhusi for a few Yorocco became a little uncertain( especially since i have had a few Yorocco brew already in Tokyo few days before), but thanks to the spur of moment thought of messaging Beach Muffin, as well the "you should go" opinion from Hamilton & Neil, i went.
Prior to making the trip from Shinagawa station while having breakfast at blue bottle cafe---i checked Yorocco webpage which list out the days when the taproom at Beach Muffin is open for the month and it kinda indicated it's not open on that Friday--so i thought perhaps checking with Beach Muffin would be the best option though their FB says "typically reply within 1 day"-- to my surprise the response was swift, the taproom is open, and they were kind to point me the direction of how to get there after getting out of Zhusi JR station.( it was only after meeting and chatting with the owner Larry that i realized the visit was meant to be---because that moment when i message to ask via FB--his wife was checking on something on the hand phone--otherwise no one will response until much much later or the next day)
*it's south exit from Zhusi JR station--go out to bus stop no.3--take bus no.12(to hayama)--alight at 3rd stop(rokudaigozenmai)--beach muffin is just located right next to the road side bus stop. 
逗子市距离东京约一小时,因为不确定品饮室是不是有开,尝试通过脸书联系询问,虽然官网记录显示通常要一天时间回复,意外的很快就得到回答,还贴心告知出车站后要在哪一个巴士站搭几号班车哪里下车。(后来见到店主Larry 时才知道,女主人刚好在用手机,所以才会有那么快回应的事情发生)。
到之前对品饮室或素食小店长什么样子没什么概念,踏进店里的那刻感觉像是到了朋友家,就那样,原本想说或许呆个两小时左右就可以去隔一站的镰仓扮一下游客,结果中午到之后就没动过,偶尔跟老板LARRY聊聊天,怡然自得的消磨时光享受扮在地人的悠闲,傍晚要离开前不久还有点奇遇式的跟来店里送刚从外地采摘苹果的低调主创酿酒师AKIO见面聊了下,绝对是整个东京行最惬意的一个下午。
While it was gloomy in Tokyo, it was not raining but sunny at Zhusi station---looking at Beach Muffin from the outside, and even when inside, even if you notice the unassuming small bar counter with a few tap handles behind the dining area---it does not feel like a taproom at all--certainly don't feel like the only taproom in whole of Japan for Yorocco--it felt more like a friend's house, someone's dining room, someone's lounge, someone's study or lazying area--just felt right at home.
The initial thought was perhaps come in for lunch and a few beers, then proceed to playing tourist at next station Kamakura( which is more famous as a tourists spot)--well, it never happened--coz i stayed the whole afternoon at Beach Muffin and it felt like one of the best afternoons that week in Tokyo.
<海滩松饼>是长居日本的美国大叔Larry和日本太太开的,素食餐点之外也卖些新鲜蔬果干果零食松饼蛋糕之类的,那天店里没什么人,偶尔有几个当地人来买些糕点带走,如果不是入门客厅左边稍上的假楼那层小吧台有5个啤酒泵加小黑板写着Yorocco当天酒单,根本看不出跟品饮室的关联。                                                                      
一间居家素食小店为什么会是全日本唯一的Yorocco专属品饮室?这是有点趣味的事,LarryAkio 满熟悉的了,也喜欢喝他酿的酒,可是没固定地点可以经常喝到,然后有一天跟Akio聊起说不如就在自家餐馆找个地方设品饮室,就那样,隔天有人来看位置,很快就动工,品饮室做起来了。
This is a place owned and run by Larry+his wife & team--they enjoy working at the kitchen which is visible from the moment you push that door open, but you can always talk to Larry if you only speaks English----Beach Muffin really felt like a neighbourhood store than anything else--it's a place you come buy some muffins/cakes/bottled dried food/nuts/fruits and such, as well you can sit down and dine in if Vegan food is your thing--the taproom is small--with 5 taps--serving ONLY and whatever Yorocco beers they have on that day you walk in--no bottles for sale or drink in(if your aim is to come and collect some bottles to buy back then you should take note)-- the taproom section is NOT open all week-- best to check in advance if necessary.

So what has a Vegan restaurant got to do with Yorocco beer? the answer is simple---because Larry knows the brewer Akio( who brew his beer in a place co-sharing with a bread making workshop not too far from Beach Muffin), he likes the beers, but there's no place to drink his brew on a more regular basis since the brewery do not open for visiting nor has got any sort of taproom, so one day Larry pop the question "why not open a taproom at my restaurant?", the next day some friends of Akio came, the spot for a small taproom set up identified--the rest, as people often say, is history.
作为今年唯一受邀出席哥本哈根啤酒庆典(MBCC)的日本酿坊,Yorocco啤酒当然具备一定水准,只是之前喝过许多日本Craft 品牌啤酒总让人感觉中规中矩,所以没带很大期望。不过,来逗子市前几天,在三轩茶屋朋友开的小酒吧喝到了感觉惊艳一支,是不久前限量发行的Yorocco低度农场风格啤酒,经过两年时间白葡萄酒木桶陈放,呈现木桶香味,轻盈易喝,像是喝着香醇微甘带点干白葡萄啤酒,是个人至今喝过最好的日本酿坊作品。
如果说之前那支桶陈佳酿是特酿不能做准,来到品饮室当天上啤酒泵的大多是常态款,算是一家酿坊作品水准的基点,当天5款中有SaisonPale Ale IpaPorter,个人感觉,除了Ipa 比较普通(可还是好喝过一些只强调啤酒花攻击的欧美作品),其他4款都是水准之作,有个共同点是,作品都均衡易喝但不是单调无趣,虽不惊人却也不是平庸之作。
CRAFT乐趣最关键在于酿品水准,还有就是跟谁一起喝,有时候在哪里喝也可以很关键,逗子市这个惬意下午美好的体现了三大要点交汇的画面。
To a certain extend, i wasn't expecting much before coming to Zhusi--mainly because whatever Japanese craft beer i have had so far basically gives off the impression of either "good but not exciting" or "very safe and just that" or "good for newbies"---there's been none whatsoever a Japanese craft brew which excites until few days before coming to Zhusi---at Pigalle Sangenjaya, it was an evening quick drink with a newly acquainted beer geek from US before moving to another place for a few mead tasting--there at Pigalle--we sampled a wine/oak barrel aged saison from Yorocco--the unblended version of the 2 bottles from their recent limited release---we were very very pleasantly surprised with the brew, it felt like you are drinking a still beer with not much carbonation in wine form filled with oak aroma, slightly dry and sweet at the same time---very very easy drinking yet with layers of nuances--we were basically looking at each other after the first 2 sips and went "damn...."---personally, no doubt it's by far the BEST Japanese brew i have had.
With that said, i was coming to Beach Muffin with zero expectations because i wasn't sure what this place is, i don't even know what's on tap for the day until walking in---for that day there's 2 saison-1 pale ale-1porter & 1 ipa on show--it's obviously unrealistic to expect the level of that limited release with regular brew--if i have to give an opinion--then perhaps expect for Ipa which taste quite normal(but the balance and drinkability is still better than quite a few US/Europe ipas aiming to hop/s attack)--all 4 others were certainly very pleasant/easy drinking---for lack of better words--it's not out of this world but certainly NOT your average so so beer. 
Spending an entire afternoon eating some quite delicious vegan food, drinking some beers, talking to Larry occasionally and basically doing nothing/lazying around was the order of the day, this place has got a homely/cozy vibe, you just felt right  to stay on and lazy around--and one small incident which happened that day makes the afternoon even better-- i was talking to Larry about beer related topics( what else could it be)--and Larry was like " i would like to have you meet with Akio san but he don't come in here too often"(as a brewer--this is one guy who kinda keep a low profile--seldom come in to beach muffin even when the taproom is open)--and then about 20 minutes after Larry said that and went back to working at the kitchen--he run up the small staircases where the taproom lounge is --and said " do you know who just walk in with hand full of apples?"--and so it was an afternoon where all things happened naturally--Akio san just came back from a trip to farm picking fresh apples--we chatted for a short while--an afternoon in Zhusi just got a perfect ending note.
Personally--the fun of drinking craft beer is all about what you drinking--the quality of the brew you drinking, and then it's also about who you are drinking/sharing with--and at times where you drinking at can add to the experience as well--that afternoon in Zhusi--all 3 elements just blend in perfectly--it's really a perfect afternoon to drink beer.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

WEEK 117---Breaking up the word B.E.E.R

This came about while having a casual chat with a non-craft drinker friend about beer.
The assumption is all non-craft drinkers knows what BEER is---taking it all in basing on face value of that word and what it represent--yellow fizzy alcoholic piss.
大家都知道BEER就是啤酒,但也有很多人都不知道啤酒是怎么一回事,啤海有多辽阔,不如拆开看看,在craft beer世界这几个字母可以意味着什么。
While having that casual chat--the thought of breaking up the word B.E.E.R just pop up, though it can be anything/ much more than what's interpreted here--for examples the word B can be BEST or BULLSHIT depending on individual interpretation.
B for BREW
sometimes it can be a little hard/complicated to try the technical way of explaining to non-craft drinkers why craft beer, what so unique ? 
the simple way is perhaps to focus on the BREW itself--it's kinda like cooking, first and foremost, what ingredients one uses would have big influence on the flavours of the finished product---and then you need the right process/skills/time factor.... so on.
and the fun part about craft beer is that NOT EVERY beer is of the same level/standards/deliciousness---it's all down to how or what the brewers/mead makers wanted a particular beer(or mead) brewed/become.
the uniqueness of craft beer?choices galore aside, it's all about finding different taste profile, characteristic. and sometimes awesomeness of a BREW.
酿造啤酒和烹饪或做点心甜点一样,是讲究原材料,食材,调味,时间,过程和厨师功力融合的事,同样一道菜式,就算同一食谱,不同人做很可能会有不太一样味道,啤酒也那样,酿造过程,用料还有酿酒师功力都起着关键作用,同一个类型风格啤酒不同酿酒师做出来美味程度可以有天地差别,也间接说明为什么喝啤酒需要选择。
B for BAD
yup-- craft beer can be bad, as in badly made.
again--it can be like cooking--we all know even with the same recipe, same ingredients, when different people cooked, the result can be hugely different---same goes for beer brewing/mead making.
the fact that craft beer is after all still a business means that we would see some half-baked brewers selling their beers under that same( same same but VERY different) label of craft beer---these brewers should be given a nice tick-off, go back to basics, learn how to brew better brew/think properly what the hell they want to achieve in taste profile before throwing half-baked brews into the market. 
*personally---any brew which is remotely/slightly better than commercial lagers DO NOT count as craft beer --and if your brew is even worse than a cold pint of big factory brew--then you should look elsewhere, stop trying to sell your brew under the disguise of craft beer/craft mead.
虽然理论上craft beer应该是好喝美味啤酒代名词,实际上,不是所有啤酒都在同一个水平上,酿出难喝啤酒又敢拿出来卖的所谓craft beer并不少。
喝到自觉难喝啤酒情况有二,一是自己味蕾鉴赏力还不够领略不了那款啤酒的奥妙,二是真的难喝,如果是劣质作品,啤迷间应当分享出来当反面教材。
B for BETTER
YES--while there's some really bad ones, there's also plentiful really nice/awesome brews out there--you just need to keep looking out/try out different brews, open up your eyes/palate/senses, the world of craft beer/craft mead is wide, and thank goodness there's better ones to look forward to than just sticking around drinking shitty ones--the choice is yours really.
craft 好玩之处在于这是个有机会不断发掘更多更新更好的广阔啤酒世界,就像寻找美食那样可以有不少乐趣,如果今天喝到一款很好喝的固然开心,浩瀚啤海不同酿坊作品众多,还是有机会喝到更出色酿品。
E for EXPECTATION
in some ways--drinking craft beer can be like a curiosity process--from hearing about certain brew--to wanting to have a taste--to finally have a sip or two--its all about finding out what a brew taste like--is it within expectation/ is it under or beyond?
and if one were to look at why some people trade beers/mead internationally--why some people willing to pay much higher secondary prices for certain brews--it's all about expectations isn't it?
在寻找不同类型风格啤酒或同类型不同酿坊品牌啤酒的过程中,很有趣一点就是很像个寻求印证期望值和实际喝酒体会感受的过程,不少啤迷会追逐一些盛名酿坊或超高人气酿品,原动力当然是好奇心推动的期望值在作祟,从渴望,寻找,到能喝上几口的瞬间就是最真实时刻,无论是期望过高还是有惊喜,当下就了解。
E for EXPANDABLE
to GEEKS, craft beer drinking is kinda like foodie seeking out for nice food--it's all about satisfying the urge for deliciousness--and that's also about expanding one's palate appreciation level--not keeping to just 1,2,3 same taste profile all the time but trying to savour different taste profile craft brews can bring--and that's really the fun some drinkers are missing, either for lack of curiosity or  pure self-restricting(in trying new/unfamiliar taste profile)--and that's quite  a shame.
人的味蕾是为了欣赏不同味道层次而存在,只是如果吃来吃去只是那两三样固定菜式,就只能是停滞不前, 放在喝啤酒这件事来说也一样,味蕾对不同风味类别啤酒的鉴赏力度需要适当开发,只有给机会自己尝试更多不同风味啤酒才能让味蕾得到提升。
E for EXAGGERATION
craft beer at times can be a little bit similar to vanity fair/fashion items---there would always be some brands/breweries which are in vogue/in trend--and that would inevitably means demands chasing often limited supply--it's like everybody wanted a piece of that brand/breweries--it's not wrong--but can be a little tiring at times just looking at the hooohaaahh on social media.
*if you are a NEWBIE--don't take it all in of what at times a bar or a bottle shop tells you about certain brands/brews they are carrying or they DON'T carry--it could all be business interest infused exaggerations--good or bad you have to digest and decide for yourself.
啤酒的世界某些程度上也跟时尚圈一样,会有某某酿坊的特定作品被啤迷媒体大力追捧,跟时尚圈有点不一样的是,这应该/很可能都不是故意炒作,而是因为量少又一定程度上好喝而被啤迷或媒体传开的,这原本没什么问题,因为就算是很有个性的酿坊,如果是开门做生意,就有买卖,不过,一些炒家的出现让价格变得不太现实,被刻意夸大的炒卖瓶子有没有想象或传言中那么好喝,是个问题。
R for REVISIT
you might find a beer so awesome you keep telling people even after 3 or 4 or 5 years you last had one--it could still taste awesome, or perhaps not--same goes for a beer you last had years ago which you thought was plain awful---but maybe it was because you could not understand or handle that one at those time?
it's always good to revisit beers you had few years ago--regardless if you thought it was the best or worse beer of your life( ok--i'm not gonna revisit any BIG factory commercial lager anytime sooner nor later)---the thing is--by drinking more different styles of brew, and learning to appreciate, one's palate appreciation level would change for the better--so it's good to revisit certain "old" beers to see if the judgement at that time was correct/any changes of opinion.
有时候,三五年前喝过的啤酒可能觉得好喝到不得了,又或是难喝的很 这些都有可能是鉴赏力还不足导致的味蕾错觉,所以,每隔一段较长时间再喝之前觉得很好或不好的啤酒重新审视是有趣的动作.
R for REJECT
this is quite simple--the truth is--world of craft beer is like a big blue ocean--it's so vast with so many different choices--so why limit yourself to drinking only the same old same old all the time? the "joke"is that no matter if you drink an awesome/delicious brew or plain boring commercial lager--it's the same--your body system still needs to work out since there's alcohol to be cleansed--if so why bother drinking bad ones/below average ones/ so so ones--when you have the choice of selecting a really good brew/awesome ones?
啤海是浩瀚无际的,喝什么都是选择,既然每次只能是喝上大概的量,为什么不好好细味品尝,尽量选择好喝的,拒绝没有鲜明特点的平庸之作,更要拒绝不知所谓的难喝啤酒。
要记住,无论是喝佳酿或劣作,酒精都需要身体机能工作化解,那干嘛不尽量只选择喝好的?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

WEEK 116---Craft Appreciation---go jumping or vertical?

It's quite interesting at times here at KL---when me and the tasting group guys would be having some bottle share, usually at a friend's craft beer bar--that we would inadvertently attract some curious looks from some who happens to be at the bar--some would just give that "what's going on" look, while occasionally some would walk to us and ask....
Bottle share is something geeks do all over the world especially those living in US/EUROPE where supplies of awesome varieties /big names brew/fresher beers are a lot more accessible than here in ASIA, though having said that, bottle sharing session is still something geeks in ASIA quite often do.
瓶子分享会是Craft 文化中常见动作,算是品酒会的代名词,也是让Craft Beer 变得更有趣,更接近一种分享文化感觉的动作。
在啤迷聚集的社交网络中可以看到很多关于#bottleshare 的图文,重点都是喝了分享了什么瓶子多少瓶子,有些欧美啤迷其中一个惯用词是#killshot,干掉多少瓶子意思。
瓶子分享会出发点当然不在于一次能干掉无限多瓶子,这其实是独乐乐不如众乐乐的延伸动作,就像一个人上餐馆,能一下子吃的不同菜式有限,倒不如叫上几个人,大家可以点满一桌子菜色分享。
在亚洲不同城市,不同啤迷群体都会有自己的瓶子分享会,虽然形式不一,也不管是分享本地或进口酿坊瓶子,有一点是肯定的,分享让大家可以在喝少尝多情况下认识/享受到更多样化不同类型啤酒。
Yes, bottle sharing is quite common really for geeks within the craft community, but it's something very new to newbies, even more curious looking in the eyes of non-craft drinkers.
To all you newbies/non-craft drinkers--here's the basic idea of bottle share session--it's like going to a restaurant alone--that's only so much you could order/eat all by yourself--but having a few friends sitting around the same table, you could order/try out a lot more varieties, and eat in smaller portion.
Is there any rules/set format for a bottle share session? i guess apart from making sure what everyone bring to the session is "not far off or of equal standards/same level of hype"( i know--it's so subjective--but geeks would know how to figure that part out--and sooner or later newbies who care to elevate palate profile would too)---how one likes to do it, be it jumping/mixing it up or vertical, a bottle share session can be quite flexible really.
JUMPING/MIXING it up
this is like going to a restaurant and making sure the dishes ordered are a mix of different flavours profile--you want a mix of taste rather than 1 dimensional, put it in a beer tasting/bottle share session, it's like making sure you have varieties of at least 3 or 4 distinctively different styles, in fact if we were to linked this to say a 10 course dinner, it would be like having your appetizers/main/dessert/s--with palate cleanser/s in between. 

Though it is quite natural to start the sharing session in the order of lightest( in terms of abv/style of beer/body and such) to biggest hitters(or biggest hyped/names) like a step ladder style of drinking, where there's a certain concern that if one were to drink a "heavier"beer( say a double ipa) and then only a pale ale---then our palate would not make a fair judgement of the taste profile of the supposedly "lighter" pale ale, that it might just taste less flavourful than it should be or even plain bland.
不同类型风格品酒会
如果以上餐厅点菜比喻,这就像是汇聚了苦辣甜酸咸鲜等不同味道的丰富一餐,啤迷可以一次过让味蕾经历不同啤酒风味感受,有趣的是,如果用西餐的前菜主菜甜品再加之间的清爽味蕾点缀品方式来看,瓶子分享会方式还真的可以蛮相似。
虽然每个人喜欢的方式可能不一样,不过在分享会中一般会从口感酒体或酒精度比较轻量的瓶子开始,比如说瓶子选择中有ipa, double ipa的话,会先从比较轻的ipa 喝起,又或者说有porter, stouts 的时候,会从比较轻的porter 喝起,这样做是有点道理的,因为一开始喝口味比较重的再喝同类型比较轻的就可能会对比较轻体那支觉得太淡太轻,味蕾有欠公平对待。
虽然那样说,实际上,瓶子分享会并没有硬性规定的尝味进程需要遵循,大家可以跟着各自喜好安排不同风格啤酒的先后顺序,只要味蕾感官应付得当,就算不管轻重顺序之分,随意跳着喝也无不可。
Having said that, a "jumping/mix it up" tasting session really can be quite flexible, if you are not having a dead serious tasting notes related or say BJCP exam style tasting--then it can be more relax, though the "light to heavy rules" kinda relevant, but sometimes a little reversing of the rules could work too as long as your palate stays alert (don't drink much more if your palate has gone to sleep--it's a waste of good brew!)
Vertical Tasting
This is quite popular too with some geeks.
if we were to put it in layman's terms, it's like buying the same brand/same taste profile of a particular cheese--say maybe all 10 or 20 of them--the only different would be the year the cheese made.
Yup--you got the idea, vertical tasting is basically SAME brand, styles of beers but brewed and bottled in different years.
Essentially, vertical tasting is about trying to find out what TIME can do to a beer when cellar/kept properly, it's an interesting way of trying to find out what changes can TIME and cellar conditioning/weather and other external factors could caused to a beer though it's by definition the same brand/style of beer.
相同类型啤酒直线品饮
Vertical tasting 是不少啤迷会做的事。
放在吃东西概念来说,就像是把同一家品牌但不同年份的芝士聚在一起品尝,意思是,在瓶子分享会中可能会有十多支同一家酿坊,同一个品牌,同一个风格类型啤酒,不同的就只是年份,有啤迷喜欢这样喝,想探寻不同年份会有什么细微或比较大风味差异表现,这样品饮的基本动机是想知道时间会可以带来什么影响。
当然不是每个人都喜欢这样做,有啤迷觉得一次过和那么多同样风格不同年份的啤酒是浪费,因为味蕾会麻木或感觉像在做研究,有点应付不来。

另一个接近直线品饮的方式是同类型啤酒但不同酿坊,不同品牌,用吃东西概念来说,就像是同时间品尝好几家不同餐厅的烧腊饭/云吞面之类。
这是像探索同类型啤酒经过不同酿酒师傅诠释能有什么差异的方式,这中间其实是有点功夫要做的,比如说IPA品尝分享会,听起来虽然是同类型啤酒,不过,因为IPA可以是很多不同啤酒花功能的展现(就先不说不同麦芽酵母能带来的影响),不同啤酒花之间的表现可以是苹果和橙子的差异,放在其他类型啤酒也一样,所以这样的所谓同类型啤酒品饮其实很难做到所有同类型但不同品牌啤酒能在同一个起跑点上做比较。
Personally i would think vertical tasting is not for newbies/ if you are not fond of a certain beer style OR don't have a certain understanding of that style of beer as it could become a little overwhelming drinking say 6 to 10 or 15 of the same beer at one session though it might be in smaller pour size.
不管你是喜欢跳着喝还是研究心比较重的直线品饮,说到底,CRAFT文化讲究的其实是品饮和分享,如果有身边新朋友还不是那么了解瓶子分享会概念,那就麻烦把这文化散播出去吧。
END of the day, no matter which style of bottle sharing you prefer, the key to a bottle sharing session is NOT about how many bottles were shared/killed--or how many Whalez were slayed( the "joke" is that this is more of a First World Problem in the states and yeah i hear you saying it does matter on social media post)---the fun of a bottle sharing session should be about sharing--drink less in volume--let palate stays alert longer to taste better/taste more--and make some friends if you will.....

Sunday, October 1, 2017

WEEK 115-----Beer -Camera Phone & CAMERA

'i recently realized that the journey of craft beer exploring is very similar to photography" 
It was a casual chat with a photographer friend who is starting to know a bit more about craft beer:-
"i used to think craft beer is only beer, why the fuss, or why you keep saying there's such thing as palate building" (looking at me, shaking his head a bit while saying)
"then slowly i get it--it's a process of discovering, letting palate explore new flavours/combination of flavours---kinda like learning how to shoot photos---from a hand phone camera user(drinking MACRO) to learning how to use a proper camera..."
“原来喝啤酒跟摄影是可以很相似的。”
说这话的是一位开始了解Craft Beer美妙之处的摄影师朋友。
他说“一开始完全不理解为什么有喝啤酒需要时间历练味蕾说法,觉得不就是啤酒嘛,直接喝就对啦,干嘛还需要这么麻烦?”
“然后慢慢的开始懂了,原来喝Craft是需要一个过程的,情况就像是一个一路来只是拿着手机用自动对焦功能拍照的人,如果把摄影机交给他/她,没经过时间锻炼很难拍出什么像样照片。”
这样子比喻的话,还真的蛮相似。
That was quite a reference--with probably 9 out of 10( if not 10 out of 10) people nowadays happily snapping away with whatever phone camera they hold--it's all about convenience/accessibility--kinda like beer too--i mean--how many of us would carry a DSLR camera/lenses/tripod while going out( if it's not passion driven /work required?)
and then he asked "while i kinda understand how the technical indicators/pointers of photography works--in the world of craft beer--how do i know what is a really nice brew /and what is not? i mean looking at the bottle label don't give much clue unlike a camera specs"

That is a valid point--indeed there's NO clear cut indications showing HOW GOOD or HOW BAD a beer gonna taste like--until you drink it--and then again that's also subject to many factors such as:-
1) personal preferences 
2) palate appreciation level
3) condition of the beer( examples -if it's fresh enough if it's a hop beer--if it's well kept--if the tap line is properly cleaned and so on)
4) mood and physical condition of the drinker on that day
喝啤酒是需要培养一定程度味蕾鉴赏力的,Craft Beer 世界迥异多变的众多风味选择意味着喝酒人需要能辨别不同类型风格啤酒的变化,只喝大厂啤酒或固定一两各个风味类型的话肯定无法领略个中奥秘。

那要怎样从手机自动对焦照相者变身厉害使用照相机的人?摄影师朋友答案“基本就是多学多用多观察,再吸收使用。”
放在啤酒的世界,也一样,多尝味多了解,多些尝试高手酿酒师的不同类别啤酒,慢慢就会领悟

在摄影的世界,有一些技术要诀作为指南,不过,在Craft的世界,要怎么区别什么是上佳或劣作?这是很难也可以说是没有100%公认的事,就算是要举例说哪一支啤酒是必喝也是不容易的事,因为同一款啤酒可能会有几千支不同品牌选择,大家又因为地理位置不同,有的酒喝得到,有的因为没人带来亚洲不容易喝到,单是不同城市能喝到什么或喝不到就可以有很多差异之处。

“可是不少新朋友都想知道说什么啤酒是值得尝试的,喝了会领略那类型啤酒美妙的”摄影师朋友的好奇提问,因为那样,就从亚洲城市最普遍被接受的不同类别啤酒说起:-
It's true there's NO DEFINITE GUIDE about what is a good beer or bad beer until one drink it--- no one can say with absolute certainty that THIS IS THE BEST BEER IN THE WORLD--nope NOT even ratebeer/beer advocate and/or untappd combined can say it's absolute--in fact NO ONE CAN--that's probably why craft beer is fun, as basically there's only one way to find out if a beer is good or bad--- by drinking it.

'But surely there must be some guide/reference beers for newbies to get a feel of what's the benchmark of a nicely brew style of beer?" he opined and then pop that question--" say for examples what would be a few porter/stouts/ipas you would refer to always when asked?"

and so i obliged with these few--reference point is made with regards to what's available in KL in those early days of drinking craft and felt in awe/or fell in love with(for sure people in different cities in and around ASIA would have different favourites due to different supply from importers)
PORTER
by modern day beer terms/theory--porter is the "thinner/weaker" cousins of Stouts--that a porter is usually lighter in taste/lower in abv/ which personally it could also mean watery/not rich enough for a tasty black brew.
NOT this one--black ball was one of the very early days porter which still remain a personal choice now--it maybe only a porter but it's rich and tasty enough to overshadow many supposedly richer/thicker/"bigger" stouts.
Porter /Stouts 
大众认知的黑啤,两者之间是有些不同的,以近代历史说法演变来看,stout 是理论上要比porter 来得更浓郁,更香醇,酒精度更高的黑啤,虽然实际上在天马行空的Craft 世界里这个理论未必时常被酿酒师遵守。
黑啤风味虽然被认为离不开烤香麦芽,咖啡,巧克力,香草,草本,类醋味等基本风味,但是当然其中变化还是可以玩到很大差异的,比如可以有带水果酸香味的黑啤,也可以有酒体类白色的黑啤!
以吉隆坡较早期喝得到的黑啤来看,达到一定水平的摄影机级别黑啤有以下几支
To Ol  Black Ball 
北欧品牌porter, 虽然理论上酒体较浅,不过口感一点都不输很多牌面上更浓的stouts

STOUTS
Personally--any stouts under 9% abv would get a "???" mark as i have very seldom found a stout rich/thick/aromatic enough for my liking.
Well--this breakfast bottle broke that perception--it was really nice for a stouts with lower than 9%abv.
Mikkeller  Beer Geek Breakfast 
只看酒精度的话,会觉得低过9%酒精度的黑啤会不够香醇浓郁,这支丹麦名牌黑啤是好喝的低度”stout
For "bigger'/richer/bolder stouts--these 2 would still work for me, Bomb is the one with chili/pepper spiciness along with the dark chocolate/roasted malt/vanilla influences.
Prairie  Bomb 
美国酿坊的带辣味香浓黑巧克力咖啡香草黑啤,超过10%酒精度却不是那种会让人感觉带酒精味的佳酿。
while Black Albert is a stand out to those who think Belgium don't have any good stouts--try one and you shall be blown away.
captured with phone camera
IPA
personally don't really have much to say about what's available locally since IPA is something you need to drink real fresh--with KL being a prohibited zone for home brewing/no brewpub it's hard to pick an outstanding one though there are some which is quite all right to start with.
with my photographer friend's insistence--here's what i told him" if you live in ASIA-with accessibility issues especially pertaining to those big IPAs from USA---no matter what ipas you might have had via local importers--personally i would think everyone should try to get hold of these 2--they are NOT THE BEST( which many would tell you)--but these 2 for me are the ones which saves me from ipa fatigue( from the same old grassy grassy thops attack) of almost giving up drinking any more ipas.
capture with CAMERA
或许对一些新朋友来说,从大厂啤酒直接尝试喝比较苦涩浓郁的ipa 会是个味蕾系统震撼,不过,只要不是喝到过期变质的ipa ,一旦味觉可以逐渐接受这类啤酒强调的啤酒花柑橘类苦涩甘香就可以领略到个中美妙。
一般情况来说,除非有上佳的在地酿坊,因为运输时间处理等关系,在亚洲喝进口ipa 都很难是最佳状况,比较难喝得到啤酒花保持上佳新鲜度的啤酒,或许因为那样,有一些朋友觉得只要是苦到够力就是好喝ipa,实际上并不那样。
以吉隆坡本土能喝到ipa 为例,选择不是很多,近期开始热起来的类果汁NEIPA也没什么机会在本地酒吧出现,就不举例了。
硬要举例的话,或许可以这样说,无论在亚洲喝过多少不同品牌的欧美进口Ipa ,还是应该想方设法从美国找来这两支/罐最具代表性的酿品,只有喝过了才能领略什么是摄影机级别啤酒。
Russian River  Pilny the elder 
美国加州酿坊的名作,让觉得ipa 只是强调苦涩的人们开始了解什么是啤酒花麦芽酵母均衡结合的美妙。
The Alchemist  Heady Topper 
绝对的经典作之一,罐装上有一行字说"drink from can "鼓励从罐口直接喝,当然也可以一分为二,倒些在杯子,留点在罐中,味蕾能感受不同程度啤酒花冲击表现。