Sunday, August 6, 2017

WEEK 111---ASIA need MORE of these

Let's face it--most of us geeks who lives in ASIA and love craft--be it craft beer or mead are basically quite envy of those who have access to awesome brews in US/Europe. It's not to say ASIA don't get awesome brews(either by "geeky" importer/s or self-reliance) from time to time--but generally speaking--the craft market is still very much in developing stage--the numbers of awesome brews/ brands/variants appearing through proper distribution channels is still small. 
Here's a few variants which ASIA has not seen much until very recently or only appearing like once in a blue moon(and we bloody need a lot more of these):-

For people who yet to try any mead, or somehow skeptical about it, here's the basic idea:-
to put it in the most simple terms--it's fermented honey.
to put it real terms--it's fermented honey which can be mixed with all kinds of fruits/food items/spices--or go through barrel aging--resulting in some very complex layers/nuances in taste profile.
Another basic idea about mead---just like craft beer--there are lighter/easier to drink session mead--and then there are heavier/thicker mead.
蜜酒 - 简单说就是以蜜糖发酵的酒,复杂点说是可加入各种食材香料玩出很多味道变化的美酒。

至于说该怎么喝或选择好喝的,答案也很简单,如果你喝到的是只有蜜糖泡水那种单调甜味,那基本你还没喝到真正有水准有层次的蜜酒,因为就算只用蜜糖加水加酵母酿的最普通版本传统蜜酒(traditional mead),高手版本会有不同层次,绝对不会只是感觉像蜜糖水。(如果喝起来只像是蜜糖水,那不如在家自己泡一杯冻蜜糖水就好,干嘛买蜜酒?)
IN ASIA--craft level mead first appeared in Bangkok when Mikkeller Bar brought in some Scandinavian mead and subsequently the first ever mead tap takeover/mead fine dining pairing with Superstition happened the last couple of years. After which Singapore, recently Hong Kong, Taipei started to see a little bit of mead appearing-- in terms of variants as in different meaderies/brands--mead in ASIA is still like a baby learning how to crawl--there's some way to go still before the first walk.

It's not surprising that many people would think mead as " isn't it just honey and only sweet?"--so why bother drinking one?
the answer is simple--because it can be fxxking tasty, a well made mead is really delicious with many variants in taste profile and quite easy to drink--so why not?

IF you need the most simple guideline as to how to differentiate a really well made mead(be it a session one or heavier one) from a mediocre one--the answer is also very simple:-
*IF a mead ONLY taste like a glass of ice honey water--no layers/no nuances/no complexity/no dimensions---then it's certainly not a good one---This is NOT how a craft mead should taste like--when you tasted a really nice one--with varieties of taste profile to choose from --you will know, like right away how delicious mead can be.
#Sour beers is not for everyone--and certainly not anyone#
That statement might seems a little rash though it's true that ASIA do not see that much sour beers, much less drinkers who seek out for sours.(and we are not even talking about Lambic since it's a reality ASIA only gets so little direct supply from the Belgium Masters.)
The better selling craft styles in ASIA would be pilsner/pale ale/ipa & stouts/porter---sour beer do get sampled here and there in and around different cities of ASIA but it's still among a very small group of drinkers comparatively.

Generally speaking--the ASIA market don't see much varieties of sour beer supply(ok-perhaps we can take Japan out of the equation since they bloody get Zwanze Day supply plus quite some other Belgium/US/Europe sours)--with less supply/less visibility--no surprise why it's considered one of the lesser appreciated craft variants here in ASIA.
In a way, to many drinkers who started and quite "stuck" with IPAs and/or Stouts/Porter, sours--especially Lambic is being seen as some kind of a test of nerves, even becoming some form of psychology barrier :)
If you love sours and you lives in ASIA--let's hope you are living in JAPAN, though there's a little supply here and there around ASIA such as Taipei- Seoul- HK-SG-BKK, but if you are stuck in KL most of the time--then the only way is self-reliance because there's hardly any nice sour beers here.
Personally-- i would half jokingly describe table beer as some sort of " taste like water--nothing beer".
This is kinda in reference to people who are used to heavier taste profile of hop bomb ipas or heavy stouts.
Table beer is generally below 4-5% in ABV--very light body--so easy drinking that some would say it "taste like water".
Table Beer,字面上意思很清楚,可以上餐桌,适合一家大小的啤酒。这算是历史说法,因为酒精度很低,可以解渴佐餐,就算午餐时间也不怕。
另一个关于Table Beer说法是有酿酒师酿完一轮后,觉得刚用过的麦芽酵母啤酒花可以再循环一次酿造酒体酒精度都很浅的解渴易喝啤酒,的确,这是基本很淡,很浅味啤酒,有点像是酿酒师为了"废物利用"酿来自己喝的解渴易喝酒水。
虽那样说,虽然基本只有不超过4-5%酒精度,虽然听起来不太吸引,实际上,高水准Table Beer 绝对是有层次的"淡如水"好喝类别。
某些程度来说,重口味啤酒,或是某种味道突出啤酒很容易辨别,也比较容易决定喜好,对只喜欢重口味Ipastout饮客来说Table Beer会感觉太平凡,没什么特点。实际上,这是讲究内敛,考验酿酒师功力的"简单"酒款,有点像煮菜那样,越是简单菜色,越不容易做得出色,与此同时,也考验饮客味蕾鉴赏力。

BUT is it really so "tasteless"?
I for one definitely don't think so.
Though it's low abv-light body-easy to drink- table beer certainly can be tasty with nuances--a table beer can be like very simple food which can be hard to master--in a way--a table beer is not only testing the skill of brewers but also testing the appreciation level/palate of drinkers.
IN ASIA--sadly table beer is very much quite invisible--you don't see much supply at all--and hardly hear of people talking or wanting to seek out for a table beer.
IF anyone think table beer is simply a "watered down" version of pale ale or pilsner--go get yourself a really nice one, see if you still think it's better to just drink water than a table beer.

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