For what it's worth, I'm including myself in the term "Craft Beer Purist" so don't give me any crap about not caring about the yin and the yang of craft beer!
I have recently noticed that there is a major difference in attitude between craft beer and my other favorite libations!
Mainly... Craft Beer apparently doesn't play well with others!
As you all well know, I am a fan of the ancient drink of the gods. Mead is a favorite of mine, both to make and drink. Making it is much like stirring up a batch of Kool Aid, but I find it relaxing, rewarding and just plane fun.
Many of the bottles of mead in my cellar either have sachets of spice tied to the neck or recipes on the label instructing you on different ways to serve their nectar! Have you ever seen that on a beer bottle? I'll bet not! Brewers and Craft Beer people tend to advise serving in a specific glass at a specific temperature. No adventure, no flexability. Keep it the way the brewmaster intended it to be!
Rum, like mead, is from the gods... just... well, it's from the fat party god that wore Hawaiian shirts and could play the ukulele like a sombitch!
Rum plays well with others! Rum and Coke may have been the first proof you saw of that when you were what? 21 of course! None of us mixed Rum with Coke when we were 14!
Regardless of how old you were when you figured it out, Rum mixes with everything or nothing! I LOVE good rum "Neat"! My "Rum Nerd" friends tell me a few ice cubes and some lime or orange will really open up the flavor profile, and they are right. But sometimes I just want it the way it is!
But Craft Beer seems like "The way it is" is the only way it wants to be!
I understand that Craft Beer "Purists" want to experience their beer for what it is. There is something very zen like about getting to know your beer. The ins and outs of the malt, the hop profile, the way the body and aroma play such a huge role in the overall experience. I "Get" that! I really do! That is, in part, why I love to homebrew! When you make a beer from scratch, you know it like the back of your hand. But what is next?
For some, it is EXTREME! Extra malt, insane amounts of hops, alcohol levels approaching that of a cheap bottle of schnapps. Whatever you can find to mix it up and keep it interesting.
So, I say, Let's mix it up a bit with the beer!
I have a pale ale on tap right now that is really not very exciting! It's good. It doesn't have any major flaws, it's a bit too dark to be an honest "Pale" but hell... It's beer!
When I realized that I was severely limiting myself by my own "purist" standards, I decided to take a new twist on an old Red-Neck classic!
If you've never been to a drinking establishment with pitchers of tomato juice on the bar, you've never been to hillbilly country.
This is where I grew up, but I don't know where or why the idea started, I'm just glad it did. Just a little tomato juice dumped into your glass of BMC (Bud, Miller or Coors) makes it a bit more palatable.
Not to be outdone by the local glug and chug, I pulled out the bottle of Bloody Mary Mix and added some to my boring pale ale!
Guess What? IT'S GOOD!
The mixing of beer into cocktails is certainly not new. In fact, there are a lot of good "Beer Cocktail" recipes out there, but I feel like the Craft Beer world has been missing out by isolating itself into pure and true drinking methods.
I can only imagine the wonderful concoctions that we would have if our nations best palates had been working on cocktails using the funky Saison or super citrus IPAs for all of these years. The malt character has long been a tradition on fish and fries when it comes in it's vinegar form, why not in a mixed drink?
I'm not the craftiest person, nor do I have the most educated palate in the beer biz. I do know what I like and don't like, and I'll be glad to share that opinion with you.
I know that I like drinking Craft Beer from the proper glass that I've hand washed and polished and ensured it the optimum temperature for that particular style of beer. I also know that I like Rum, Coffee, Tomato Juice, Rum, Vodka, Whiskey and any number of other adult type party starters along with Rum. What I don't like is having my flavors jammed into a little box like Chinese carryout and being told not to mix, match or intertwine the things that I like! Nor do I like being frowned upon by other Craft Beer Evangelists for doing so and encouraging other to do the same!
I say "Mix it up folks!"