Maybe it’s you?  Maybe it’s a friend or spouse?  I’m sure that we all know someone who rarely, if not never, ventures away from their beer of choice.  Quite often, these creatures of habit will stick with a basic beer like a Coors Light, Budweiser or Michelob Ultra.  Our goal here is not to cast aspersions on these fine beers or to point fingers at those in our inner circles who shy away from experimentation.  We are here to provide some pointers and guidance to you, the beer connoisseur, so that you can encourage your mates to throw caution to the wind and order more freely.
Snap Out of It!
What I present to you today is something that you might take for granted, or at least might tend to overlook as a BOTW choice.  But hear me out – this isn’t for YOU, this is for you to help others break out of their light beer rut once in a while.  Most human beings have progressed toward their current state or preference.  Someone who has never before prepared a meal should probably not start with the most difficult of Julia Child recipes.  A novice golfer should not expect to conquer Augusta National.  Similarly, a less adventurous beer drinker should not jump straight from Bud Light all the way to Terrapin’s Hopsecutioner.  We need to slowly introduce them to increased flavor and darker colors so that they can better understand the huge wide world that is available to them. 
This week’s Beer of the Week is Michelob Ultra Amber.  I am absolutely not referring to the Cactus, Peach and Raspberry “beers” that also carry the Ultra name.  This is their version of an amber.  Beer snobs will tell you that this isn’t a full-blown amber, in color or flavor.  They are correct.  It is not meant to fulfill that role (I actually think their AmberBock does a pretty good job of that.)  Ultra Amber is the bridge between tailgating beer like Ultra or Miller Light and the rest of the beer world.  Offer an Ultra Amber to your timid friend.  They’ll see the familiar label and will feel comfortable, willing to try something new.  The first sip could create a frown or puzzled look, “Why are there flavors in my beer?” Ask them to think of this as a new experience, not expecting it to taste like what they think beer should be.  Another sip.  Maybe some realization that ‘different’ need not equate to ‘bad.’  A few more sips and you will hopefully have a believer.  The final step is to pour one into a clear glass.  Let them see the color and then pour a normal light beer into a separate glass.  Show the difference in color so that they can understand that dark(er) can be good.  Darker beers typically carry more flavor and much greater potential.

This may not work for everyone.  And Ultra Amber may not be the solution for everyone.  But I think that this can be a very positive step forward.  Now that you have unlocked the door to the world of beer, what next?  Do you jump all the way to a super-hoppy IPA?  Rich, thick Abbey-style quadrupel?  Come back next week for the all-important next step.
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November 8, 2013
Mike Pennington

Author: Mike Pennington

Mike Pennington, normal, 40-ish, father of three, living the suburban dream north of Atlanta.  

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