Wednesday, March 8, 2017

WEEK 99 --- Open up your senses-- STOP being a Beer-Blind

It is a fact not even worth arguing--that 9 out of 10( or it could well be 11 out of 10!) people only know beer as BEER, as in MACRO BEER - that its always a no-brain-er when ordering a BEER.
这当然是错的- 多得单调无趣大厂啤酒多年“调教”有方--大家基本都变“啤盲”而不自知。
It is also a fact that MACRO BEER giants- through the years--with their marketing money/strength and "lifestyle" ad campaigns has firmly planted the stereo-type images of BEER in a certain way--here's some general attitude people would have when mentioning BEER (much like in a blind-folded way) :-
1) BEER is either "white" or "black"-varieties? what varieties?
Anyone growing up/living long enough in  Asia- particularly Malaysia or Singapore would have heard this many times over--that BEER is either only "white" or "black"--that's the only way BEER is known.
It's a fact( though it's a pity) that absolute majority don't know / not heard of craft beer--that's the awesome colorful beer world full of varieties/styles way beyond just "white" or "black".
Perhaps the closest anyone who refer BEER world as just 2 tone in color could muster is DRAFT BEER( instead of craft)- thanks but no thanks to the influence of MACRO.
1) 啤酒不是白就是黑,没什么需要选择的。
啤酒不是白就是黑只是大厂啤酒市场营销策略描绘的单调无趣选择,啤酒世界真实情况是选择多样化到会让一些人“选择困难症”发作,是绝对不止黑白的霓虹灿烂,这个啤酒世界的名字叫做Craft Beer。(请不要混淆为DRAFT BEER
2) BEER needs to be ICE-COLD and Down Fast
Try telling anyone that you need to let a glass of beer slowly warm up--give it a little bit of time to "breath"/"find it's footing" so that you can better enjoy it's full flavour--and you shall be laughed at.
in the world of BEER--almost no one knows that a beer actually would taste better/more rounded/fuller in taste profile if given proper temperature treatment/timing that beer deserved(i said almost coz there are few who do warm stout--but that's another story).
thanks but no thanks to MACRO- almost all of us only know a glass a ICE COLD BEER is best served with Frozen Glasses--and down it in no time. ( coz it taste horrible when warm :)
2) 啤酒哪需要讲究什么不同温度,冷到结霜程度快快喝就对了。
Craft Beer世界,不同类型啤酒需要不同温度才能真正领略到完整风味,太冷喝只是浪费酒,正确方式是让啤酒稍微回温,原理有点像是喝葡萄酒讲究“醒酒”或让“酒呼吸”那样,只有适当温度才能让啤酒发挥应有风味。
3) Never MIX--just keep to"white" or "black"
it's quite a common belief among some MACRO drinkers that the best way to avoid getting smashed is "do not mix your beer"--meaning if you been drinking "white"--just keep to that, don't drink the next beer "black"--always only keep to the same beer!
Well the truth is--no matter who you are or how high or low you Alcohol tolerance level might be--you will be asking for troubles if you:-
a) drinking empty stomach
b) drinking when you already dead tired
So--thanks but no thanks to MACRO--the real fun of drinking varieties of different styles of craft beer will hardly be known by most BEER drinkers.
3) 啤酒不要混着喝,喝白就一路白,黑就黑。
至于不要黑白混着喝这回事,一点问题也没有,说白了,啤酒混着喝才是Craft Beer好玩之处,为的不是醉,而是尝试不同味道风格类别啤酒,
当然,喝Craft Beer这回事,最重要的还是品尝,不是牛饮,更不是买醉。
4) ICE PLEASE--BEER is too warm/too "thick"
Adding ice cube--it's quite a norm in the world of BEER- isn't it? well--it's even quite common with some wine-drinkers--so what is wrong with adding ICE?
here's a case at Mikkeller Bangkok sometime ago--a curious drinker went there - found the glass of porter too "strong" for his liking(though already had taster)--asked for ice cube--obviously not given any--went on social media to wank..
Is that guy right to ask for Ice cube? YES i heard many many of you BEER drinkers said- so thanks but no thanks to MACRO- the idea of actually "murdering" a beer flavours by adding ice or by serving it ice cold don't exist in you--and that's a real pity you don't understand the concept of flavours in beer.
4) 啤酒杯中加冰块是正常的,反正有人喝红酒也那样。
不过,在Craft Beer世界中,冷只是一个事前动作,真正品尝时候需要的是啤酒由冷在回温过程中出现的味道变化,这是领会完整啤酒风味的过程,任何加冰的动作等于是在谋杀味道。
不懂啤酒真实世界的人或许会觉得“加冰”没什么不可,只是,对懂得Craft Beer的人来说,“加冰”这动作是很有讽刺意味的,显示了大厂啤酒蒙蔽大家对真正啤酒世界感知能力的策略多成功,而一般消费者对啤酒的认知是多么无知。
5) Why bother go specific places only--just to buy BEER?
BEER is something easily accessible--BEER is something very convenient--that has been the key to MACRO successes.
The fact that craft beer community is formed by tens of thousands of small breweries/distributors/bars/bottle shops- and the nature of craft culture of "brewing what i like/think could be fun" mean only 1 thing--that there's no way craft would rival MACRO in terms of accessibility or available volume.
It's quite interesting to note that in ASIA lots of people would drive/travel far and wide just to get a good meal--no one will ask why go there coz the reason is obvious--only that restaurant/that chef can cook something so delicious.
BUT--why no one think that way when it's time to choose a BEER? that you need to go somewhere specific--coz that bottle of beer/that keg of beer is only available there!
5) 啤酒随处可买到,为什么CRAFT只能去专卖店?
Craft Beer的世界不是由几家国际大公司自己生产自己供应自己玩完,而是世上很多不同地方成千上万酿坊形成,每一家的酿品都不太一样,产量也不太多,有时候甚至只是酿一次玩玩就不酿,当然做不到随处可买到,这就是为什么喜欢喝或想喝Craft的朋友一定要去专卖店找,就像找美食那样。
6) BEER is just BEER- it's cold maybe a bit bitter-that's all
It was quite a joke when this dude who "like BEER" went to Cantillon sometime ago--posted his comments on social media-- asking people to "avoid this place if you love beer"--kinda trying to turn Cantillon into "CANTI-NO".
But-is that dude wrong in saying what he felt/tasted? that he could not handle the beer he thought should be BEER?
Not really--maybe we should congratulate the marketing/blind folding team of MACRO for successfully making most of us "Beer-Blind" who knows nothing about varieties of taste profile out there in the beer world--thinking all beers would only tasting how BEER should be all these while.
6) 啤酒就只是有点苦涩,冷冷的饮料,不可能有什么其他味道。
so whose fault is it that most of us are essentially"Beer-Blind"? regardless if you realized or not--the truth is--in the world where commercialization is where big money is made---perceptions formed(rightly or wrongly)-- there's simply no stopping MACRO playing that "blind-folding" game they been so good at over times--it's entirely up to us to decide--if you would still like to be "beer-blind" or you would maybe try saying this next time:-
"i need choices--WHAT would be a nice beer to drink?"
just like you always do when it comes to FOOD.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

WEEK 98---SIGNS you are IN TOO DEEP....

in whatever phase of life--we get obsessed/hooked with all kinds of desirable/undesirable things--diving into the black hole of craft beer/craft mead can have the same effect...
here's a few signs of definitely getting in too deep:-
啤迷从最初懵懵懂懂接触CRAFT BEER到逐步掉进黑洞,走向入魔之路,其实都有迹可循,比如以下几个(当然还有更多其他):-
1) more than 50% of your social media post is all about CRAFT
unless you don't like the idea of social media--it's quite a natural process to see most social media post from those who indulge in the world of craft revolving around craft beer/mead, be it a pic of bottle with glass and some tasting note or a shared post about craft--in fact, a lot of your googling would likely be about finding out certain info about a certain beer/mead/beer style/brewing info/ trade info and such... 
1)超过50%的社交媒体Post/网络搜寻都是Craft 相关
无论是FB/ INSTA/ Tweeter等社交媒体,无论是"你在想什么"PO图文或是转发图文,占大多数的都是跟啤酒\蜜酒相关话题。同样的,在网络上无论是搜寻资料或是跟其他人聊得最多的,也是跟啤酒或蜜酒相关。
2) your new acquaintances are mainly from craft community
It might be mostly from social media--or actual "real people" that you meet in person at bar/craft events--i.e strangers in "real ife' becoming acquaintances- tasting group buddies- even real good friends--all because of shared values of craft culture.
2)认识新朋友绝大多数来自Craft 社区
Craft 社区当然只是个概念,指的是喜爱Craft级别啤酒或蜜酒,相信,参与,或自发推广Craft文化的人们。
3) travelling has a new name now
gone are the days when you just travel for the sake or travelling or "get away"--most travelling now would be as closely related to craft events as possible--you plan your travelling around beer fest- or to visit a few bars/breweries, even for new release of particular beer --those days of just wondering around or go photo snap at tourists attractions has more or less regarded as "non-essentials".
Even on days when you travel on company expenses for work--no matter how--trying to seek out craft beer places would always be on "MUST do list".
4) comparatively- you are tasting MORE but drinking LESS
those living in ASIA would probably have a better understanding of how this is happening--that comparing to the initial period when one started to indulge in the world of craft--the drinking volume was bigger or much bigger than say 3 or 4 years later when one's palate is more developed and quest for varieties/urge for tasting rather than keep drinking in quantity of the same old same old takes over. It's natural geeks would drink much lesser in volume gradually--and would move on to the phase of bottle sharing--tasting--essentially tasting MORE but drinking LESS.
4) 跟以前不认识Craft或最初喝Craft相比来说,喝的量少了
5) tasting group is a natural progression
with not 1 single city in ASIA(though personally i do think there's at least 1 bar which can live up to the demand) able to fulfill the demand for awesome varieties like those available in Europe/US- it's a natural progression geeks who seek to buy/beer mail/trade with those having access to beers/mead not available here --and the reality is when you "import" own beer/mead--you are paying foreign currency( if you are earning in Malaysia Ringgit- and need to pay USD--eat this- Ringgit to USD went from 3.3 : 1usd to now 4.5 for 1usd)--you need to pay logistic cost--then depending which ASIA city you live in--you might need to pay some silly taxes too.
ADD all those in--it's needless to say the beer mail is COSTLY.
At this stage--it's normal most geeks would have a few tasting group buddies that meet regularly/off and on -- either for cost sharing bottle share or "bring your best bottles" tasting sessions. After all- craft is more fun when you share... 
6)you know WHEN "a beer is just a beer"--and WHEN "a beer is definitely not just a beer"
sounds confusing?
it's quite simple--we all love craft beer/mead for it's varieties, for choices available--so when someone ignorance or uninitiated think or says BEER(as in big factory commercial lager) is what craftbeer is--that's obviously NOT TRUE--BEER is certainly not just beer.
BUT--the varieties of craft beer/mead world can be confusing at times too--that because of curiosity of geeks over some highly hyped beer/mead--people are willing to succumb to the theory of "rare is good"/"rare is gold" and pay silly prices for a particular bottle to the tune of few hundreds/over 1K USD.
This is the time we take a back seat and says "hey-it's only beer".  
然而,在不同类别繁多的Craft Beer世界中,最基本的经济原理"物以稀为贵"还是通用的,意思是,一些啤酒因为实在很厉害,产量很少,加上被啤迷追捧,造成有人因利炒卖有人无论怎样都要满足好奇心喝到,导致出现离谱的高价黑市买卖。

Monday, February 6, 2017


This is the year of Rooster according to Chinese Lunar Calendar, and here's a few rooster related Chinese sayings applicable to beer:-
Craft Beer最吸引之处是不同类别啤酒种类繁多,这是有时候让很多新朋友困惑的事情。
比如强调啤酒花功能的IPA, 先不说不同品牌,就是同一家酿坊,分分钟就有数十种以上同一品牌但不同风味IPA
原因很简单,啤酒花有很多不同风味特质,目前已知的不同风味啤酒花就超过百种,而酿造IPA除了可以不同啤酒花混合用(A+B, B+C+D, C+E+F+G, 反正是无限可能组合),还有玩单一啤酒花系列的,所以,一家酿坊单一品牌但无数多不同IPA是常见事。
There's always Flamingo among chickens
The best thing about the world of craft beer is Choices--that's almost the single biggest reason why so many of us willingly dive into the black hole of craft.
take the most popular IPA for examples--the choices of different variants from 1 single brewery/brand can be so many a newbie will have his/her mind mess up..:)
But we all also know Choices basically means comparison--that a particular beer/mead is somehow better tasting than some others or rest of the pack.
那么多不同类别风格,最后成品当然会有高低之分,CRAFT BEER 文化起源最根本的重点就是不想喝水准不佳啤酒,基本来说,CRAFT BEER 是比一般大厂啤酒好喝,不过,一旦是不同酿坊品牌之间的同类型啤酒有比较,就会有鹤立鸡群的情况出现,意思是,总会有几家的啤酒水准高过其他酿坊。
So how do one pick out a flamingo among chickens?
some people would say just refer to whichever highly rated ones in Ratebeer/Untappd --that's a sign of where Flamingo could be found.
some would say trust your own taste--and pick out your own flamingo...
The choice is yours to make.
Chicken & Duck Talk
It's quite obvious both are talking different lingo.
In Asia--almost anyone who has worked in a craft beer place would have encountered this scenario:-
someone/a few walk into the bar--look at the menu--and pop the question" you don't sell XX brand beer?"
obviously that XX brand beer would not be a craft beer.
CRAFT BEER 在亚洲很多城市都是小圈子玩意,虽然每个城市都会有一班人(可能是业者,更多时候是给钱喝酒的啤迷)尝试推广CRAFT文化,在大厂啤酒行销无处不在和速食文化包围市场情况下,只靠口碑,据点零零落落的CRAFT文化推动起来总是事倍功半。
这是完全不了解什么是CRAFT的一般啤酒饮客反应,很正常。照说,只要是有喝过啤酒的任何人就有可能成为CRAFT DRINKER,不过,很可惜,很多时候这些饮客因为不了解,不敞开胸怀眼界,也不听人介绍,结果是懵懵懂懂的,喝了几口或几杯後,从此不再喝CRAFT,错开了真正认识浩瀚啤海的机会。
It is the hope of any geeks to spread the love of craft--"converting" a commercial lager drinker to craft is seen as a natural act - BUT ( yes-there's always a but in life somehow)--it's also true that some are just too closed minded to open up to the idea of a whole new world of beer--there are those who would just act chicken and duck talking...
To those people--just leave them be--if they are happy just drinking loads of big factory beers--so be it.

There's many ways of making a Chicken delicious
Same for beer.--if you are into craft beer that is.
in the world of big factory beer--it's always only 1 chicken 1 taste( or no taste?)
CRAFT BEER玩的是各种想法创意,“一鸡几吃”很正常。
Enter the world of craft beer/craft mead--you will discover the various way of making a chicken taste differently delicious--OK--i meant to say how a beer can taste so differently delicious--just think how many different possibilities there is for a Stout to taste vastly different by adding food items and the small matter of barrel aging....
Actually you just have to IMAGINE for a few seconds--you should know which beer world to enter--1 chicken 1 taste? or 1 chicken multiple taste?

Monday, January 23, 2017

WEEK 96-- Have you EVOLVED?

This has got very little to do with the real "theory of evolution" by Charles Darwin--if anything,  it's only kinda playfully relevant.

We all know or seen or been through this familiar scene--a guy walk in to a craft beer place, had a beer or maybe two, and decided it's something really interesting, something worth exploring further and started to become a craft enthusiast.
We also would see a guy walk in--had 1 or 2 beer--and that's the last time you will ever see him at a craft beer bar--because he decided that's not what he like, and that's it--back to usual usual big factory beers.
达尔文《进化论- THEORY OF EVOLUTION》说的是从简单生物演化成复杂有智慧的人类进程理论。
所有经历过从完全不知道有CRAFT BEER存在,到开始接触喝过一些不同类别啤酒,从此一头栽进浩瀚啤海的啤迷朋友都懂得这是怎么一回事。
在喝啤酒人“进化”过程中,能决定一个人是只好奇喝上几口然后就转身喝回自己熟悉的单调无趣大厂啤酒,又或者是会自动进一步探索的决定性因素有几个,不过,最关键的莫过于是不是碰上“通关”的“进化啤酒”(EVOLUTION BEER)。
There's a few factors influencing the above scenario--whether a guy decidedly go with or go against craft beer---but we shall only focus on 1 deciding factor here--that 1 beer( or more) that will change someone's stereotype/wrong assumption about beer(you may add mead to that list too)
Let's call that ONE beer( or more) as EVOLUTION beer.

Not to sound complicated or technical(there's nothing technical in this blog anyway)---Evolution beer is a beer(or more) that would taste so awesome--so nice--that a person would be feeling so contented--so happy he/she chose that beer.
More importantly-- it will be a beer that changed perception or open up palate/new imaginations/level of appreciation.
In many ways--Evolution beer( or mead) is something that will sent someone from just a passer-by/ curious drinker to the road of no return of becoming a Geek.
如果我们把大厂啤酒想象为城门外遍地垂手可得的野花杂草,那CRAFT BEER就是关在城门内不太为人知的秘密花海,只有踏进城门之内的喝酒人才有机会发现什么是CRAFT BEER的变化多端美好世界。
这样说或许有点武断,不过,事实是,所有新人,在喝上第一杯或最初几杯CRAFT BEER的开始,所有从喝大厂啤酒或看广告得来的所谓啤酒认知基本全部废掉,味蕾不适应或感官被震撼又或是觉得难喝死了等感受都是正常现象。
不过,一旦碰上对的啤酒,特别是让人“通关”的“进化啤酒”,那就基本已经双脚踏在不归路上,是的,如果你还没喝过CRAFT BEER,这是所有啤迷的共同认知,一旦发现这个浩翰啤海的美好,就不可能再回头去喝那种淡出鸟来的无趣啤酒。
I can remember the early days few years back--when i thought i was kinda already "advance" than most of my friends by drinking the big factory beers from German/Belgium--that's until when i finally had my first Rochefort 8.
To use "blown away" sounds cliche--maybe i was not blown apart but it was a real palate opener/eye opener--that was a beer that made me wonder what the hell just happened....
个人经验,从当初懵懵懂懂喝啤酒,到有点开窍,第一支“进化”啤酒是比利时的修道院酿坊作品ROCHEFORT 8号瓶子,当时自以为“比其他人懂”,因为已从最基本淡无味大厂啤酒喝到一些德国比利时“较有味”大厂啤酒,不过,一喝到8号瓶子这样的CRAFT 级别啤酒,根本就是懵掉,想象不到原来啤酒可以是这样丰富多层次,而且应该慢慢品尝感受不同温度变化带来风味演化,那种美味和幸福感完全不是冷飕飕快饮的所谓啤酒可以比拟,这是绝对全新啤酒境界。
As we move on--there's definitely more Evolution beers awaiting to be discovered--i would say in every different "stage of drinking" or "palate improvisation"--we all need different Evolution beer to hit up the palate and wake up the senses in order to go up another level in terms of appreciation ability--it's a beautiful journey and surely an enjoyable one.
在喝CRAFT的路上,“进化”啤酒无处不在,无论是新朋友或资深啤迷朋友,只要是愿意尝试不同类别风格啤酒的,都会在不同阶段碰上开拓味蕾新世界的“进化”啤酒,而这正是CRAFT BEER世界最美好一面,因为世界某个角落总会有某位酿酒师在试着让自己的或疯狂或简单想法变成啤酒(或蜜酒)等着有心人品尝。
What's perhaps 1 or some of your EVOLUTION BEER?

Friday, January 13, 2017


First newspaper column post of 2017--went a little retro here--a few Chinese Proverbs/Idioms to look at what's happening with some of the craft scenario--especially with newbies/ curious drinkers...
It basically means someone who endured hardship/bitterness trying to achieve something would eventually taste the fruits of their labour/sweetness of success...

To use such "motivating" phrase for beer tasting is a little playful but it also kinda reflect the very real scenario happening all over any craft beer places in the world when first time drinker/very new newbies trying out beers heavily influenced by use of HOPS.
喝惯普通大厂啤酒的大多数人不会知道啤酒花(HOPS)是什么一回事,第一次接触craftbeer,无论是易喝的PilsnerPale Ale 都会感受到啤酒花作用,有人会说“比一般大厂啤酒香”,再来"好像有点苦",当然,要是喝IPA的话,会第一口就"好苦"
The truth is --majority of so called beer drinkers/beer lovers who just gulp on their big factory monotonous-lager have NOT A CLUE WHAT HOPS is. 

It is so common to hear cries of "bitter" "too bitter" "yakks" when new people have their first sip of "bitter beers"--it can be a American Pale Ale, even a hopped up version of Pilsner--and if it's an IPA--expect all hell to break loose in that poor guy/girl's palate...

But all of us who've been through that initial "palate shake" would know--that so called bitterness is just very initial reaction of the poorly advised palate( first pounded by big beer commercial ad campaign/then dull senseless by the tasteless actual brew)

If you think craft beer is bitter--that's very likely not true--it's only a temporary stage where your palate is still raw/green/uninformed or misled--you will eventually taste the "sweetness" of beers you once considered too bitter to swallow--if you keep trying the right beers and varieties in the WWW of craft beer.
This is quite an ancient story--when a bad guy try to be king himself--to find out which are the guys on his side--he brought a DEER to the palace and showed the young king--pointing to the deer saying its a HORSE....

so what has deer or horse got to do with craft beer?

It's simple--as we live in a quick finger world now--anyone and everyone can just post on social media whatever crap it might be whenever they like--or dislike a certain beer.
IPA? 很苦的,有什么好喝?”
CRAFT BEER 又贵又不好喝,喝啤酒罢了嘛,还是大厂啤酒便宜好喝。”

The point is--it's all right to say anything you like/might among friends--but once comments is on social media--and it's a wrong one or misguided one or simply brainless one--then it affects the craft community, however small it might be.
how many times have we seen/heard these:-
"ohh--so bitter--why people like IPA?"
"stout is like drinking chinese herbs--so thick and bitter"
"craft beer is expensive and weird--i prefer my usual big factory lager"
"mead is brewed with Honey? ohh...cannot--must be sweet til die"
Those words--some came from people who have actually took a few sip or drank a glass--some came from people who NEVER had it but only assuming or from hearsay.
举一个实际发生例子,之前在一个美国啤酒论坛内看到几个人因为对某支啤酒意见不同,在FB对上了,其中一句话是这样的 "当你像我那样喝过超过4万各种不同类别啤酒之後,那时才来讨论吧。"  当然,这句话可能是炫耀,夸大或气话,虽然喝的多不代表一定懂的比较多,不过,肯定会比只粗略或好奇喝过三五瓶就随便下定论的人懂得多。


The problem with these group of newbies/curious drinkers or "opinion leaders" is that--what they are saying or commenting on social media is NOT THE TRUTH--it's almost like pointing to a deer and saying it's a horse.
These people should learn how to calm down--not trigger happy on social media--learn how to appreciate varieties of beers--get to the basic of things--and just enjoy the "palate shake" process--because palate training is needed to better the appreciation level--and that's NOT a process where any amount of reading up on internet or books can replace--you need to drink and taste and feel--that's the best way to train up palate( though reading can help but only so much if you don't actually drink).

Remember--the next time when you "think" a certain beer style is not for you , or a certain beer would taste wrong--don't say it loud on social media--go have a few taste first --then sip it again say a year or two later--see what your palate tell you....
Which bring us to this old saying--"one can always find something new in an old subject matter/otherwise very familiar matter".

Personally i find this quite interesting--the same beer--drink it now and few years ago/ few years later can taste vastly different( not because of brewing changes--strictly about palate matter only)--or it would still taste familiar, with maybe some new nuances to be discovered.

It is quite humbling to find out certain beers taste much better than when first tasted--due to lack of knowledge/appreciation level/ untrained palate or simply being ignorant.  
At the same time feeling funny/slightly embarrassed to think so highly of certain beers drank in early days--"ohh--that's the fxxking best IPA i ever had"--and then you discover the level of beers like Focal Banger or Pilny the Elder( just saying)
What would be some of the beers you felt horrible at first but tasting so good now?  and some which you thought so highly/heavenly of that it's "down to earth" now( i kinda wanted to say down the drain:)....