A friend of mine had a good idea this evening. He doesn't have many so I have to give him credit when he does. :) We were enjoying a meal and a beer @ Brixx Pizza in downtown Charlotte. I decided to try a beer that I had never had before. It was an IPA. This is always a gamble. As with any food or drink there is always the risk that you will not like what you are ordering. This fear has led me to make the safe choice many times and order an old favorite. Tonight I was out with Eden sans Jenna, we had just seen the circus come in to town complete with elephants, miniature horses and all. I was feeling adventurous. I ordered an IPA from the menu which is another gamble for me because I think there are two types of IPA. There are good, herbal IPAs that take care to carry a nice flavor and then there are IPAs that are hopped to the extreme and are bitter just for the sake of being bitter. I don't like those. In case you don't know, IPA stands for India Pale Ale. They are generally very bitter due to the amounts of hops used in brewing the beer. Thankfully I really liked this one which brings me to my friend's rare good idea. I mentioned the problem of trying new beer and then forgetting about it once the night was through. I'm not talking about a drunken night followed by a blackout. I'm talking about a fleeting glass of a tasty beverage that doesn't stick to mind just like the name of someone you just met. The next time I come to Brixx or encounter this brew somewhere else how can I try to make sure that I remember, "Oh yea, I had a glass of that one night @ Brixx and I really enjoyed it." Blog about it of course! The beer I had tonight was called Two Hearted Ale from Bells Brewery. Being an IPA I knew it would be hoppy (bitter). I was just wondering if it would be the type of hop flavor that I like. I was surprised by this one. It didn't really have the herbal hoppy quality that I look for in an IPA but it wasn't overly bitter. It was kind of light @ the front, another odd quality to an IPA. The bitter flavor of the hop was there but it was cut @ the end by the fresh, slightly sweet flavor of citrus and fruit. It's a great combo and I love that it surprised me. Now, you may be thinking that I am a total dork for analyzing the flavor of a beer this thoroughly. Well, I am a dork. I'm comfortable with that and people do it with wine all the time. Since I have decided to brew beer @ home I have gained a heightened sense for the different flavors in beer. There is something about dealing with and smelling each ingredient as you brew a batch that really helps to educate you to the different flavors that contribute to a simple glass of beer. The recipe can be a very delicate balance to get just the taste you want. This new found hobby is why I have just added a beer category to my blog. Since I am brewing as well I should also take the time to post about the batches I have in the works as I learn what makes a good batch of home brew. Presently I am carbonating a batch of Bohemian Pilsner in the outside fridge. It should be ready to go for the Superbowl this weekend. I also have another batch in the carboy (What is a carboy you ask? It's a big glass jug. I'll try to go in to more detail in another post.). That batch is called A Bit o' the Brogue Scotch Ale. That batch still has a approximately 2 1/2 weeks before it is ready. I'll let you know how the pilsner comes out for the Superbowl.