Okay, maybe Philadelphia instead of Rome.  While here for a conference, a few of us went to an Italian restaurant our first night here.  Some orders around the table got me thinking about the choices we make when at a ‘foreign’ restaurant.

When eating Italian, do you have Peroni, Moretti or some other Italian beer?  When at a Mexican restaurant, why do we gravitate toward Tecate, Corona, Pacifico and Dos Equis?  Do you order an Asahi when at a hibachi grill?  I always do.  Either I’m a sucker or I just like the full experience of immersing myself in the culture of whatever cuisine I’m enjoying.  We’ll leave discussions about cuisine to our friends over at Plain Chicken.  But let’s dig deeper into this issue about why we make the beer decisions we make while out.

I remember years a go when a group of 8 of us went out for dinner at a Japanese steakhouse.  Watching the flair and the dinner ‘show’ while eating with chopsticks was just part of the experience for me.  I also felt like it would be a disservice to the evening to order a domestic beer.  So, of course, we all had Asahi, Sapporo and/or Kirin.  We all ate using chopsticks.  We had a fantastic evening.  The next table over was a group of 8 Japanese people out for what seemed like a similar night as ours … Friends out for fun and fellowship.  The main difference, however, was they were all drinking Budweiser and eating with forks!  It was a fully complete mixture of cultures.  Similarly, once while in Ireland, I encountered a local lad who said that he and his friends refused to drink Guinness, but would do anything to get their hands on Budweiser.  What is it about us that makes us want to always try the exotic, the different choice?

It could be a variety of reasons.  Maybe we have traveled overseas and want to relive that feeling and those memories.  Maybe it is a sense of belonging to that culture, if only for an evening.  Maybe it’s an opportunity to try something we wouldn’t normally want to buy for home consumption.  Whatever the reason, have fun with it!  That is one if the great things about the nearly overwhelming selection of beer we have these days.  So, the next time you’re in a French bistro, enjoy a Kronenbourg.  If you’re visiting your favorite Chinese spot, order a Tsingtao.  Or order that Budweiser – just have fun with it!  At the end of the day, the choice is yours and the choices are endless.

Prost. Skal. Slainte. Cheers.  Salud.  Stin ijiasas.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

Welcome to my beer journey.  As we get started, I’d like for you to know a little about me and a lot about what I’ll cover and highlight on BGB.  I’m just a normal guy.  I like beer … a lot … and often (in moderation, of course.)  There are scores and scores of blogs and websites that are dedicated to beer in all its glory.  They are of a very high quality and include great volumes of information about International Bitterness Units, floral notes, brewing styles, etc.  It’s all well and good … except for so many of us who have no idea what any of that means!  This is an average Joe beer blog, written by an average Joe for average Joes.  I’ll tell you what I like and what I don’t like and why, but only in layman’s terms.  I’ll leave the fancy descriptions to the real experts.

So let’s start by discussing what is likely the greatest birthday present in the history of mankind.  I recently turned 40, although I don’t feel any older than 39, and my wife took the prize for “Greatest Wife Ever” with this: 40 days of beer for the 40 days leading up to my 40th birthday.  On day one, I didn’t yet fully understand how awesome this idea was. Only in the coming weeks could I appreciate what a tremendous six weeks I was experiencing.  What she had done was spent months getting 40 different friends of mine to schedule one of those 40 days as theirs: they were to bring me beer(s), take me out for beer(s) or do something else beer-related.  There was even a place for people to designate their beer of choice so that there was a limited amount of overlap.

And so it began on Day One at Taco Mac, the world’s finest dining establishment (that ranking has nothing to do with the fact that they have hundreds of beers on tap or in bottle.  Simply incredible.)  I began my 40th-beer-saga with a Blue Point Double Blonde and a Clown Shoes Brown Angel.  The Blue Point Double Blonde was quite nice.  It was not overpowering at all, but had a nice flavor to it – not heavy at all.  It is one I would order again.  The Brown Angel was a nice juxtaposition to the earlier beer.  This was much darker (nearly black) and had a heartier, more powerful flavor.  This is not the beer I would choose to break someone out of their Michelob Ultra tendencies.  I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I could have more than one at a time.

This is Day One of blogging for me.  Let me know what you think!  And certainly invite your friends to follow along.  I’ll try to get a post out once a week (or more once I get to a bazillion followers.)  Thanks for reading!

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington