The Official Taxonomy of Drinking Beer

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The Local Beer

When you’re in a new place, you gotta try the local brew, no? Drinking local is a small window into the soul of people. Maybe growing up in Portland, where I could try a new brewery every weekend, and it would probably take me a few years, gave me this allure to microbreweries. Whenever I go to a new city, I’m always tempted by that local brewery that everyone seems to know about. Plus, those small microbreweries don’t always distribute outside of the state or even at all. It’s a nice flex knowing that very few people can drink the same beer as you at that moment, just admit it.

The Situational Beer

There’s no doubt that particular beer tastes objectively better in ideal situations. Maybe your sipping kölsch out of a small glass in Cologne. Or drinking a Lowenbrau at a rickety wooden table during Oktoberfest. A pilsner in the Czech Republic while eating pork knuckle? Yes, please. How about a fresh hop beer in the Pacific Northwest as the weather turns to fall? Oh yeah, I’m here for it. There are some combinations of beer and places that just feel right.

The Hype Beer

This is the beer your friend’s friend has been talking about. The limited-edition releases that breweries have hipsters lining up outside like fangirls. These beers are often stouts, probably aged in bourbon barrels for 30 years, and brewed with that Tahitian vanilla you totally know about. Oh, and it’s about $30 a bottle. But you’ll pay for it, and you’ll fucking love it.

The Nostalgic Beer

Ah yes, nostalgia. These beers are often cheap because, well, could you afford craft beer in college? If you could, we probably weren’t friends. I still contend the Yuengling makes one of the best cheap beers around. Whenever I go back to the northeast, I try to grab at least one Yuengling to remind me of my college days of bad haircuts and poor choices. Sometimes there’s a fine line between nostalgia and masochism.

The Shared Beer

A beer with friends is probably the best way to drink a beer. This lesson was probably driven into me by my many visits to Oktoberfest and various German beer gardens and festivals. Sure, wine and cocktails are good to share too, but there’s still something about a few cold, frothy beers and couple hours with a good company that stands out above all else.

The “I Need a Beer”, Beer

We’re all familiar with this one. Sometimes you just need a fucking beer. You’re having a tough day, day at work, what’s the first type of beer you reach for? It’s usually pretty crush-able, because let’s be honest you’ll probably have more than one.

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