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A lusty bit of beer pleasure

A lusty bit of beer pleasure
A lusty bit of beer pleasure
Photo courtes Brewers Publications

"The flavor of beer depends upon several things. First, if it is fresh and healthy it will taste good, quite simply...good, that is, if the taster likes beer.

Then, it will taste like a stout or an Oktoberfest or a mild brown ale from the midlands or perhaps a hoppy pilsener from Germany. Or it may have a clearly earthy and pungent flavor straight from the ancient lambic breweries of Brussels, or it may taste chewy, firm and fat like a dark porter.

Then beer will taste like what the taster expects, which of course depends entirely on the taster. Myself, since I was 25 I have expected all beers to be delicious and with few exceptions they have been. In the same way, some people wait, if they drink beer at all, and belch their indifference.

Beers can be drank for themselves, as with friends or even in cooked dishes; they can be drank primarily for joyous feelings; and they can be drank for their flavor.

The Quintessential Beer is as American as corn-on-the-cob or Thanksgiving turkey, as far as American know or care. To many families it is a necessary part of the most important family dinner occasions, so that its omission would at once connotate a sure sign of internal disintegration.

It would mean financial failure too, to omit the Quintessential Beer, which not so long ago was brought carefully thousands of miles for the fortunate beer enthusiasts, who could boast of them at their festivities. Not everyone could buy them, God knows, even if they wanted to and an American was even prouder than a man from Bavaria, London or Brussels to have these beers on feast day.

Perhaps it is because they were somewhat lacking in their first freshness by the time they reached the hearts of Americans, whatever the reason, beer was always served ice cold . . . and they still are, mostly. And in spite of this the quintessential beer remains a primary focal point, simply because of its flavor.

There are many "quintessential beers" as well as many beer papers issued regularly discussing what is best. All of them agree that it is almost impossible to have too many different kinds of quintessential beers if you are going to have any at all.

The methods of enjoying quintessential beers differs, of course, so that one rule will say drink after dinner and another will command more generously to drink it with dinner. A fair medium however is to use the following as a guideline..."

"A Lusty Bit of Nourishment," is the title of an essay written in 1941 by one of the world's finest food writers, M.F.K. Fisher for her book Consider the Oyster. It can be found in a collection of her works The Art of Eating (Macmillan Publishing Co., New York, 1990). Of course her version discussed oysters and had absolutely nothing to do with beer. I couldn't help substituting the word “beer” for “oysters” and sharing with you her words and some further transpositions from my beer infested mind.

Though I must say I appreciate oysters as much as she, I think the marriage of the two in this unusual manner betrays much truth in the many things we care for.

Enjoy your lusty pleasures and pass it on.