By Dave Marks
It's easy to fall into the same habits with beer … Stick to what you like. Quite frankly. I am not here to tell you what to drink. I’ve just made a list of areas to explore if you are up for some “new beers resolutions,” if you will.
#1 Drink Local: This is always my number 1 beer-drinking goal. If you haven't yet explored the breweries that are surrounding you in Western Mass, you are in for a treat. Fort Hill has everyone talking in the Boston area, and even BLDG 8 and Abandoned Building have gotten some statewide recognition. Not to mention small producers like Stoneman, Bear And Bramble, and Honest Weight, which are small-batch heroes.
#2 Try Sour Again: You may have seen the sour craze and said “no thank you." It absolutely is an acquired taste. However, it's not all acidic, mouth-puckering tart bombs -- there are many balanced, complex, and wonderful sours out there. California's Libertine has some unbelievable subtle, effervescent sours that are sure to please. And Crooked Stave out of Colorado has a wonderful portfolio of small bottles and, just recently, cans for first-timers to explore.
#3 Plan A Trip: It's an absolute pleasure to base a road trip around beer. With the hundreds of breweries in the United States (and Canada!), it's easy to pick a city for a long weekend of fun. (Pro tip: Be aware that many breweries are in industrial parks!) Also, if you do a trip, make sure you visit an established brewery such as Brooklyn Brewery, Allagash, or Victory for a guaranteed good time. Breweries who have been in the game longer simply have more space and usually offer more to do, such as tours.
#4 Reach Out: My personal favorite part of beer is the act of sharing. Beer brings people together. There are many little communities out there based around beer. Some groups are more serious (nerdy) than others. Regardless, the joy of a “bottle share” is a wonderful feeling. Seeing what your friends bring to the table is always fun. Plus, it really is difficult to finish a 750mL on your own (sometimes).