Do you crack open the same old beer you’ve been drinking for years and think, “I should try something new.” With thousands of breweries and distilleries in the United States, there are more choices than ever in your local liquor store. So many, that you might be a little bit intimidated. That’s why we have asked Savannah expert Vincent Becker of Habersham Beverage to help us get out of our beer comfort zone. Not only has Mr. Becker been with Habersham Beverage since 2014, but he is also a Certified Cicerone®, BJCP Certified Beer Judge with Mead Endorsement, CSW and CSS (Certified Specialist of Wine and Cert Spec of Spirits). He has been homebrewing since 1994, so if anyone can lead us in the right direction…Vince is our guy.
What are some of the best new local brew styles you have in house?
There are always new beers coming into the store. Most of our local brewers showcase their specialties in their tap rooms and have some limited releases that hit the store. Right now there are not a lot of specialized Savannah releases. However, Service Brewing just released Love Boat which is a Brewer’s Reserve Imperial Stout brewed with sweet cherries, cacao nibs and aged for 4 months in bourbon barrels. An additional 42lbs of sweet cherries and 10lbs of cacao nibs were added to each barrel during the aging process. We currently have limited supply in our stores but hope to be getting more soon so everyone can try.
I’m a Budweiser drinker and want to be adventurous and buy a blend your own six pack pack out of my comfort zone. What 6 beers would you suggest?
A variation of the below would work nicely for a Budweiser drinker as these are all variations of beer that taste like beer.
Scotch Ale-Czechvar or Orkney Brewery Skull Splitter or Oskar Blues Old Chub
Dry Stout-Guinness or Murphy’s Irish Stout
Old School IPA-Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA or Stone IP
Lambic-Founders Centennial, Rodenbach Flanders Red Ale
I’m trying to get my significant other to be a beer drinker but they prefer sweet drinks. Which beer would you suggest that would convert even the toughest of critics?
Something like the Lindeman’s fruited sours (Framboise, Peche, etc) or maybe some pastry stouts like Untitled Art, D9, Terrapin or Evil Twin.
Sours are not for everybody. What sours would you suggest to a first timer?
Start with some of the fruited sours like Gose or Berliner Weisse – (Untitled Art or Trim Tab to name just a couple), after starting with those maybe move on to more traditional examples – those can be an acquired taste – beware they are addictive and can be expensive. A couple of traditional sours to try would be Boon or Brouwerij de Fontein.
There has been a lot of expansion in the seltzer market. What are some of your favorite seltzers and why?
I’m not that into seltzers. I can’t deny that they are very popular right now. If I have to pick one that I would drink, I would say Wild Basin is doing a good job as well as Scofflaw. They just seem to have a little more “clean” flavor. Untitled art is also making some seltzers that are over the top with fruit flavor. Most of the others seem to have an artificial sweetener taste.
What is a beer that makes people turn up their noses but is actually delicious?
I would say Oyster Stouts. Many people actually think they are oyster flavored when in fact it is use of the oyster shells for their calcium carbonate to help with the minerality of the water. A good one to try is Lincoln’s Gift by Service Brewing.
Favorite dessert beer?
For my dessert beers I like bigger stouts but not too sweet to give a counterpoint to the cake or ice cream that might accompany said drink. I also like the flavors that barrel aged beers can bring to a “dessert” beer. The booziness of a bourbon barrel or the richness of a rum barrel really move things up a notch. A few to try would be Founders Breakfast Stout, Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout or Goose Island Bourbon Barrel Stout.