Video: Van West Media’s 2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Beer Extravaganza

March 16, 2017

Top O’ The Mornin to Yah!

Last year at Van West Media, we celebrated St. Patrick’s day with a fun green beer blind tasting – so why not do it again! Fortunately, Travis, our Account Director, is a huge beer nerd and is more than willing to share some knowledge when it comes to beer and how to taste it – especially during work hours! We thought we would put his skills to use yet again with the kickoff of our second annual BEER EXTRAVAGANZA!
While Travis was in charge of getting a great range of different beer styles, I made sure to deck the halls with Irish cheer. This year we decided to focus on a wider range of beer styles and discover some beers you might not know were out there (Gose with sour cherry or chocolate peanut butter stout to name a few). We picked a few people from the office (beer lovers and non-beer lovers alike) to explore these and see what tasted great and what tasted less great. (Fact: there is no such thing as bad beer, only the wrong beer for you)

We had several different options that appealed to any kind of beer drinker from the “I never drink beer” to the “beer is life”. With our mustaches on, we embarked on our beer tasting extravaganza. Using the wisdom and guidance of the Beer Judging Certification Program (BJCP) style guides, Travis walked the office through a few different styles. At the end, everyone on the team voted for their favorite beer and we attempted to come up with a “Van West Best in show”. In the end, the Apex Predator was a unanimous winner!

Apex Predator Beer

The beer extravaganza was a wonderful celebration for many reasons: the mustaches, the varying delicious beers, the hats, but what was appreciated the most was learning something new about beer and having an open mind towards trying something different. Drink on!

Learn to like a new beer this St. Patrick’s Day“I hate beer” is no excuse!

If you don’t like the taste of beer it’s not your fault – but are you really trying hard enough? At some point in your life an unsuspecting friend or bartender put the wrong beer in your hand. This might have been a boring can of lager or a mouth puckering IPA, but the bad impression it left can last a lifetime. We’re using this St. Patrick’s day and an excuse to explore new beers and you should too!

Before you revisit beer…

Travis Pouring the Beer

It helps to think of beer the way you think of food:

  • It’s always better fresh
  • There are many flavors and it’s OK to not like some
  • Try to stick with what’s in season
  • Buy what’s local when you can

When it comes to food, sometimes you want to eat a salad and sometimes you want cheeseburger. The same thing is true about beer. Figuring out what type of beer you’re in the mood for can be the best part. You know those days when you will stop at nothing until you satisfy the craving for a cheese pizza slice? The urge to drink a crisp Kolsch style lager on a sunny afternoon or warm up with a roasty Irish stout on a rainy day can be equally compelling.  So head out with some friends or pick up some beer on the way home but be sure to keep an open mind and keep in mind the suggestions below:

Buying your beer at the bar

Midweek day drinking at a craft bar and/or with a good bartender is the best way to get a quick education here (if you can get away with it). The bartender will have time to answer questions and the bar won’t be filled with smells or assholes to distract you from the beer. ALWAYS tip your bartender. Always. Weeknights or weekends are fine too but if you’re working on your beer game then spend the time to find a bar with some decent beer options.

General Beer Do’s and Don’ts

Okey Smelling the Beer

  • Do Tip your bartender for every drink. Always.
  • Do Drink water to keep your palette clear (and hydrate)
  • Do Ask questions or taste (within reason)
  • Do Let your beer warm up a little and take your time drinking it, the flavor comes out more
  • Do order draft beer when possible
  • Do look at and smell your beer before you taste it
  • Do pour your beer into a clean glass (not plastic) cup
  • Do check dates on bottles and cans and make sure beer is not expired or super old. If old, check some others on the shelf.

  • Don’t go to a liquor, wine or dive bar. The selection will suck and the beer might move slow and be old, which impacts taste
  • Don’t order food with your beer. Save your taste buds to focus on the task at hand – finding a beer you like.
  • Don’t take huge sips or chug your beer. Focus on taste!
  • Don’t buy your beer at a supermarket or random bodega. Beer here is often old and stored improperly and can taste off before you even drink it.
  • Don’t think anything is wrong with canned beer

All the Beers we tasted

Finally – I feel like I need a beer just for making it this far into the blog post! Join us in using St. Patrick’s Day 2017 to reconsider your relationship with beer, give it another chance or try some of these below.

Amber Ales: Generally a more balanced beer with a coppery-brown-amber color and carmel malty-flavor.

Porters: Darker brown beer with controlled roasty type flavor or light burnt or chocolate flavor

Saison: Pale in color and more refreshing and dry beer. Fruity and spicy yeast character with very fine high carbonation

Gose: German sour wheat beer and usually salty or herbal. Out of the box beers if you’re open to weird.

Apex Predator (Van West Best in Show): Sweet scents of juicy fruit. Brewed only with grain and sugar, it becomes a golden body. Dry finish with a fruity bite.

Overall, the extravaganza was a huge success! We had a lot of fun trying the different varieties of beer while learning something new from our in-house beer nerd, Travis.

If you missed last year’s extravaganza, check it out here.

From the team at Van West Media, we wish you a very happy and lucky St. Patrick’s Day!