If you are reading this then it is official. I am pleased to say that the success and enthusiasm of the N.C. Beer Month articles have yielded a monthly column dedicated to everyone’s favorite carbonated adult beverage.
In this inaugural piece I would like to lay a foundation for things to come. Please feel free to write back via email or twitter with questions, concerns, comments, ect. As prominent as social media is these days, it would be foolish of me to neglect these avenues for cross communication.
As the interest in craft brewing progresses through the state, it becomes even more important for us as consumers to be educated (as it does with any purchase). Let’s be honest with ourselves here a minute. We don’t typically go to the grocery store and toss random items off the shelf into our cart. We choose these items because we like them. We have had them before, and we have a certain comfort level with these products. If we all had the same tastes everyone’s grocery cart would be filled with the same items. Fortunately, this isn’t the case.
This same thought process can be applied to your local beer isle or beer store. I bring up this topic because I run into this situation almost weekly as I am leading brewery tours. Most consumers don’t stray from what they have been drinking for the last few years. Brand loyalty is one thing, but simply not knowing the options is a sad fact of the industry at the moment.
One of my favorite questions to ask as I am mingling amongst the crowd in-between tours is “What type of beer do you typically drink?” At least half of the responses I get center around the big three breweries that have been around for more than 150 years. While this isn’t a bad answer, it does show us there is plenty of room to educate the general public about craft beer.
Thankfully in today’s market we are fortunate enough to have dispensaries that focus on beer and wine. Local grocery stores are catching on to the craft brew bandwagon, and most allow you to build your own six packs from their collections.
Triangle Wine and Total Wine companies both have amazing selections. The Beer Dispensary in Apex is another local source of hard to find brews. All of these sites have employees that are familiar with what is on their shelves. Some even have beers on tap for you to sample. If you are unsure of exactly what you may be looking for, help is just a question away.
My hope is that this column can be used to spur conversation about current and upcoming breweries, principles in brewing/home-brewing, styles/tastings, beer/brewery dinners and collaborations. I am grateful for the opportunity to expand both my knowledge, and the readers’, with all that N.C. craft beer has to offer.
Louis Dawson is a volunteer at Aviator Brewing Company and has been home brewing for almost seven years. He has a B.S. from N.C. State in Animal Science and has been doing pre-clinical cancer research for more than 11 years as a Senior Research Specialist in R.T.P. Contact Louis by email at email@example.com or find him on Twitter @BrewLou.