I am on the road this week in New England, gathering some information and ales for future postings so I have been pleased to receive a few emails that can spark some activity around here - including the offer of a Norwegian columnist! That would be excellent.
In one email, I received this cry for help from Roger in California who is a new blogger and who has just returned from a trip to England. He writes:
We were amazed at the variety and quality of the English ales. Over the course of the entire trip I don't believe we had a single bad glass of beer, and there were some truly amazing ones...Unfortunately, what I've found upon returning to the US is that I can't drink American beers. I haven't tried everything, obviously, but out of both the local brewery in Fort Bragg, who's beer I liked, and several types of bottled beers, everything I've had has tasted nasty, skunky and BITTER.This is a "Beer Abby" moment if ever I saw one and I am glad to report to Roger that he is in the heartland of one of the great brewing regions of the world. The entire US west coast is home to many fine brewers whose brews will blow your mind, Roger. Find beers by Rogue from Oregon and Stone from California and start there. You may have to learn a bit about hops, how to avoid the cheap, dreaded but pervasive Mt. Hood variety and how to embrace US varietals like Willamette and Cascade.
One word of caution. English ales are among the lightest in alcohol content of any in the world due to decades of taxation based on strength. Conversely, Californians are the kings of the big beer. Make sure you know your milds from your imperial double IPAs. But enjoy as you edjificate yourself and feel free to post here or send a link as you explore your region's great ales.