'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..."
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。
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)
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.
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。
To Ol Black Ball
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
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.
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
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。
Russian River Pilny the elder
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。