I came across two really fantastic beers the other day, Mate's from Pivovar U Bizona and Lví Srdce from Třebonice; the former a 12º polotmavý ležák, the latter a 11º pale ale, regular beers through and through, but with a twist. Mate's was brewed with yerba mate and Lví Srdce with juniper.
What set them apart from many other beers brewed with unconventional ingredients was that they still tasted like beer. If nobody told you, and you were not paying too much attention, chances are you wouldn't notice those ingredients. If you did pay attention, chances are you would only be able to notice an uncommon flavour that you would know belongs to the beer. That's exactly what happened to me with Mate's, which I had on tap at the Farmers Market in Dejvice. I bought it because it was a 12º polotmavé, just that; I loved it, and only when I was halfway down my second pint I learned about what it was made with.
I want to have more beers like this, really.
I would also like to see more beers like Old Burton Extra, from Fuller's Past Masters series. In a time when much of the attention still goes to brewers swinging their dicks while screaming, it's very refreshing to drink a boozy beauty that tastes reassuringly old fashioned - the beer equivalent to sitting in one of those big, brown leather armchairs after a long walk.
But enough with this onanism. Beer Man is one of the most interesting beer related projects I've seen in a long time. According to the lead of this interview with Ikary Perera, it is ”An antropoligical project that studies the role of beer as a cultural and socialising agent in tens of countries".
Beer Man is one of the finalists in a competition by Discovery Channel called Born to Be discovery. There's also a blog, but, frankly, I was expecting more. The idea itself, however, is still very valuable, and refreshing! While we waste our time and energy arguing derivative nonsense like “craft”, “industrial”, “styles” and whatnot, Perere reminds us that for most people beer is “just beer”, but at the same time, a lot more – something that we sometimes forget a little.
Let's hope the project does become a documentary series or, at the very least, something good to read.
Beer as “just beer”, what a beautiful thought.