Tuesday, April 25, 2017

WEEK 102--some basic ideas of CRAFT---part 2

It is true majority of "BEER drinkers" don't know/ never heard of craft beer---here's part 2 of the basic ideas series:-
CRAFT BEER让啤酒的世界很精彩,只可惜知道,听过,懂得欣赏的人太少,本期再来聊些基本概念:-
1) So MANY choices--where to start? how to drink?
There is no fixed method of how one should start craft drinking.
One of the easier way to start is perhaps by picking beer flavour which is similar to taste profile you like in food/fruits or dessert--that way you can minimize chances of drinking something "unpleasant" right from the start--which might caused some to have the wrong idea about craft and make a hasty conclusion that craft beer is just gimmicky-unpleasant-awful...
1) 那么多不同类别啤酒选择 怎么喝?
比如说可以从最浅白易喝风格开始,低度PilsnerPale Ale--然后再试IPAPorterStouts等类型,不过,要是想随心所欲的看到什么试什么开始,也未尝不可,自由发挥是Craft文化精神之一。
Once you decided on the flavour profile---the next step is to either follow the "safer" path of starting from lighter, lower abv beers--and then slowly moving onto "heavier" ones----or you could just go with whichever you fancy--regardless of the "lighter to heavier" order.
The Key point? it's all about tasting--finding a flavour or two or three that you like initially and take it from there. BUT--do not stay too long in a certain comfort zone--meaning if you like IPA--don't just keep drinking IPAs for ages--one should try other styles too--even those you think you won't like or can't accept due to certain misconception/precast ideas---just try them out--try a few good ones for a particular styles--and you will be surprised how different taste profile would give so much pleasure you never thought possible from these "perceived not my cup of beer/mead"
2)MACRO BEER most familiar with are mostly around 5%--there's a lot of above 6%--even above 10-20% abv craft beer--with ABV that high--wouldn't it full of strong alcohol smell? awful to drink?
Whether or not a beer is full of alcohol smell has got NO direct link with how low of how high ABV it has got.
The deciding factor is about how well a beer is brewed.
In truth--a beer with only 5% abv can smell and taste so awful if badly brewed--and a beer with over 20% abv can be so tasty one can hardly taste or smell the alcohol influence.
2) 一般大厂啤酒都是5度左右,Craft类型中超过6度到1020多度啤酒不少,酒精那么高会不会难闻难喝?
3)How to avoid "stumbling into" a badly brewed beer?
Part of the fun of craft drinking is about discovering nice brew-awesome brew--it is the journey most(if not all) geeks goes through--stumbling upon some bad beers is part of the game--though with better judgement one can lessen that chances--but it's all good--drinking a few bad ones along the way would only serve as stepping stones to finding a lot more better ones...
3) 怎么避免喝到难喝啤酒?
4) Is there some form of Guide or References--to avoid bad beers all together?
There are lots of information about beer on wwwsocial media--and among those sea of information--RateBeer, Beer Advocate & Untappd are widely used for references/guide --it is no denying that by checking on ratings/others opinion--one could lessen the chances of bumping into a bad brew--BUT--do remember--it's still other people's opinion--you would have to drink it yourself to find out if you really like it or other wise.
The choice is yours--let others decide for you--or decide yourself.
4) 有什么管道可以了解多些啤酒资讯,减低喝到难喝啤酒几率?
关于啤酒的资讯很多,除了可以看书,网络和手机程式也有一些适用的,包括很多人用来查看个别啤酒评价,类别风格,酒精度,风味特色等基本资讯的RateBeer, Beer AdvocateUntappd等,通过这些资讯,特别是个别啤酒评价,有时候可以减低喝到难喝啤酒几率,只是,要注意不能一直只是完全根据网上评价决定喝不喝某支啤酒,毕竟那都是别人意见,还是要自己喝过才能决定心中评价。
      5) Is there a Sommelier for beer which one can ask for recommendations?
There's something similar to that in the world of craft beer--one can take up the courses/examinations to become a Cicerone.
However--it is NOT a common scenario where craft beer places would have in-house Cicerone to recommend beers to customers like a restaurant would with wine serving sommelier.
In ASIA--most craft beer places would have someone to recommend choices to newbies when asked--and they are usually either owners/staff or regulars/geeks.
5) 啤酒有没有像葡萄酒那样,就听认证侍酒师(Sommelier)介绍喝算了?
Craft 的世界有类似侍酒师那样的国际认证考核资格,不过因为Craft在亚洲是起步中,没有像欧美餐厅聘请葡萄酒侍酒师的普及化,现阶段来说,喝啤酒靠的是店长店员或啤迷朋友介绍推荐

6) So Beer also got International Courses & Examination?
That's right--besides Cicerone there's another International body running BJCP courses for those intended in becoming international beer judges. And obviously there are beer related courses run by universities in and around US/EUROPE.
6) 啤酒也有国际认证考试?
7) is Beer that COMPLICATED?
there's 2 side to a coin--it might seem complicated to some with all those various beer styles--different serving temperatures--different serving glasses--not to mentioned all those technical terms involved if one were to brew or intending to take up exams.
7) 啤酒有那么复杂?
BUT--beer can be very simple really--at least 1 thing is clear--the reason why geeks go nuts about craft beer is simple--in search of Palate Enjoyment.
Anyone who tells you BEER is only something to gulp/to get wasted--they obviously don't bloody know what Beer is. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

WEEK 101--REBOOT from ZERO--some basic ideas of craft beer PART 1

When the newspaper column idea was mooted back in April 2014--it was basically with one aim--try to introduce craft beer to people who don't have any idea about craft beer --in the most simple form/ language possible.
在亚洲,Craft Beer对绝大多数人是陌生名词,到底所谓的Craft跟大家“认识”的啤酒有什么不同?以下是一些基本概念。

The column started with weekly writing--then turning to bi-weekly since 2015 and have now breached the 100 articles mark--perhaps it's good to reboot--to try and talk to some more newbies who have zero idea about craft beer with this and subsequent REBOOT from ZERO articles....
1) WHAT IS Craft Beer?
the key word--CHOICES.
Craft Beer is full of varieties/different styles/flavours --it's what shattered the BEER IS BORING perception in spectacular fashion.
If you think of food--what everyone know as BEER(MACRO BEER) is like a bowl of plain noodles---Craft Beer is where you will find all kinds of varieties/flavours.
1) 什么是Craft Beer 
如果用吃来比喻,大家认识的大厂啤酒是阳春面,Craft Beer世界有各种各样不同口味面食等你发掘。
2) WHAT's so special about Craft Beer?
Think of all the flacours you can find in daily food items--the basic of sweet/sour/bitter/spicy/umami---those you can find in fruits/ dessert/spices/beverages and so on---you can find all the flavours in a beer form--and in real taste--not those artificial fake chemical flavours.
2) Craft有什么厉害?
可以这样说,日常食物\甜点\水果\香料\零食中能品尝到的味道,都能在啤酒中找到,更重要的,不是人工香精那种"假味道",优质Craft Beer都是真材实料酿造的。
3) Where can I find Craft Beer?
Generally-craft in Asia is still developing or in very early stage of development:-
in Malaysia--it's mainly and almost only in Klang Valley--there's 3 bars + 1 bottle shop around town--and words that there's 1 more bar likely opening up north in Penang soon.

down south in Singapore--there's quite some bars/bottle shops worth going to--at least 6-7-and if you home brew--this is 1 city you can get your brewing materials from.
up north in Thailand--personally my fav city for beers--mainly because Mikkeller Bangkok is there, there's also a strong "Thai brew" movement going on--meaning you can sit in a bar and not just drink imported beers but drink "technically outlawed" beers(with some legal ones) from the Thai Geeks who brew.
3) 哪里喝得到?
Japan--Tokyo probably has got the widest selection in ASIA as far as varieties is concern--you have choices of local Jap brew and imported variants not only in and around Tokyo but many other areas of Japan too.
Korea--the craft movement been gaining momentum--with local and imported craft choices developing steadily over the last 2 years.
HK and Taiwan--both cities been moving kinda fast since the last 3 years--more imported variants can be found--there's bars and bottle shop--as well local breweries of which some are slowly gaining international attention.
China--the craft market potential is huge--however the market is still on very early developing stage--there's plenty of imported beers--but the one thing anyone drinking in China needs to be aware of is--quite a lot of imported beers are via grey importing--and that could also mean the beer could be well and truly dead before it gets on your glass/belly due to various handling issues. 
4) Can I find craft beer at Supermarket or Convenient Store?
In Asia--it's not too common to be able to find craft beer like how one can easily find MACRO BEER in a supermarket or convenient store--the reason being craft beer is NOT something you just display and it will sell on it's own like how MACRO do...
4) 超市或便利店找得到?
在亚洲,Craft文化还在起步中,随意在超市或便利店找到Craft Beer的几率不高,也因为Craft的独特性(种类繁多,需要一定知识才能有效推介),一般超市便利店没卖。
Craft Beer--due to varieties/different styles/taste profile--would need someone who is a bit more "knowledgeable" to explain to customers what is what--hence not many supermarket-convenient store owners would stock craft beer...
Anyway--even if you could find craft beer in a supermarket or convenient store in ASIA--don't get too excited--it's best to check the drink by date--or is there any storage/handling issues?
5) WHAT you mean-" drink by date"? or storage/handling issues?
The best part about craft beer is varieties of choices
Hence--there are beers which would taste the best or better--when it's consumed fresh or the ealier from 'drink by date" the better--for examples any pale ale/IPA which emphasis on hops freshness--or say any porter/stouts which emphasis on freshness of spices or beans used.
5) 什么保鲜期?什么储存得当?
Craft Beer 好玩的就是不同类别风格繁多,打个比喻就像一条鱼可煮,煎,炸,焖,蒸,炒,腌制或做生鱼片,啤酒也可以玩出很多不同口味。
那么多不同类别啤酒,有强调趁啤酒花气息新鲜时候喝的Pale Ale/IPA,又或是咖啡豆/香料气息比较强时候喝的Porter/Stout等。这就是啤酒的"尝鲜期",时限内尽快喝的版本会比过期的好喝。
On the other hand--a beer will taste awful--no matter how fresh it might be--if the handling side gone wrong--A bottle or can of perfectly fine brew can go very wrong if it's infected during bottling or canning process--or say exposed under direct sunlight-or light struck- or stored in a hot and humid environment.
6) Beer on tap would always better than bottles/can version?
NOPE--it depends on what type of beer.
But most importantly--drinking from tap-system DO NOT always guarantee the freshness or quality of beer--tap system needs cleaning consistently--a perfectly tasting beer would go bad if the tap-line is dirty/infected.
A tap-line which is not clean--is something like if you have some left over Chili on a bowl --you know what will happen if you pour some soup into..... 
6) 都说Draft Beer比较新鲜好喝,上啤酒泵版本比瓶子罐装好喝吗?
没有绝对 ,要看啤酒类型而定。
7) Beer ONLY taste best when drank FRESH?
Again--the answer is NOPE--it depends on what style of beer
There are beers which no doubt would taste best when drank fresher--but there's also quite a lot which is best to let it age and drank after a period of time/few years/many years after....
The reason being --some beers can have secondary fermentation inside bottles and would aged beautifully as compared to drinking fresh which can be deemed as 'waste of beer".
7) 啤酒一定要新鲜才好喝?
一些啤酒比如Pale Ale, IPA, 甚至是一些Porter, Stouts强调趁新鲜喝,不过也有不少强调陈放一段时间或好多年後才喝。