The Five Don’ts of Beer

For several years now I have been listening to my boyfriend’s long list of pet peeves when it comes to the habits of some beer drinkers and many of the articles he reads about beer. One such article, which appeared in the Star Ledger magazine recently, sparked the idea for this article. The author, much to the horror of my boyfriend, referred to his beer as a “Brewski.” Well that, as you will soon see, was the last straw.

1. Please, please don’t call it a Brewski

For far too long, beer has had a low brow reputation. Nothing perpetuates this more than the word “brewski.” It conjures up visions of stained wife beater shirts and 3 days of beard growth. (Sorry, couldn’t find the wife beater with the beard picture.) Yes, beer is the everyman’s drink but it can have style, dignity and intelligence too.

So please, just use the term “beer”. Even better, if you want to show that you are an enlightened beer connoisseur, try being more specific:

IPA (India Pale Ale)-Has a high hops content which imparts bitterness as well as citrus and herbal notes.

Lager – The name comes from the process of “lagering” which refers to aging better at cool temperatures before bottling. Light in color with an emphasis on the malt rather than hops which may be non existent.

Stouts and Porters – Heavy, hearty and dark. These styles emphasize roasted barley flavors with minimal hops.

For everything you want to know about beer styles:

2. Never, ever drink beer from a can

Ok, let me be more specific. Brewers like Oskar Blues make great canned beer, but for God’s Sake pour it in a glass. Don’t even ask me about funnels. Beer, like wine, has a nose (or fragrance if you will) and your senses of smell and taste are closely linked. The right glass will let you experience both the taste and smell. (I’m thinking this guy could not care less about the glass. A shirt would be nice though.)

The ubiquitous “pint” glass is fine (although in the US they aren’t even close to a full pint) but check out this article on beer glassware. Believe me, it makes a difference.

3. Don’t think beer, pretzels and pizza

Blasphemy! Beer without pretzels or pizza? I’m not saying you have to put them away forever, but beer pairs well with other foods too. (Debbie wants everyone to know she did not cook the steak that looks like tree bark.) Anyway, the Belgians often serve small bowls of cubed cheese to eat with your beer. I’d go so far as to say that beer is a better accompaniment to cheese than wine.

Many fine dining restaurants are paying as much attention to their beer lists as they are their wine lists nowadays. One of my favorites is Basil T’s in Red Bank. They brew all of their own beer and have a great menu. If you have suggestions for places to go for great food AND beer, leave them in the comment section. And, before you go out for dinner again consult this article on for some tips on pairing food and beer.

4. Don’t put your mug in the freezer

There’s nothing like a nice cold beer in a frosted mug on a hot day, right? Wrong. If you’re that hot and thirsty, try ice water. When beer is that cold you can’t taste it anyway.

You’re thinking, “Oh, no. I’m not drinking warm beer like those limeys’s do!” I’ve seen the inside of more than a few English pubs and I know that the beer is served at cellar temperature. It’s a far cry from warm. If you want to find out what your beer actually tastes like, try taking it out of the fridge 15 minutes or so before you’re ready to pour it. You may be surprised.

5. Don’t be a Brew-venile

Beer is not just for keg wielding college kids. It’s for grownups too. Try to be intelligent about the beer you drink….both what kind and how much. Keep this in mind especially when attending a beer fest or tasting. Getting sideways smashed means you are no longer enjoying the aromas and complex flavors of what you are there to enjoy in the first place. Plus, there’s a good chance you’re pissing people off and looking really stupid.

I’ll leave you with one final piece of advice. Actually, it’s more of a philosophy. I’d rather split my last good beer with a good friend than drink the whole thing by myself.

Life is short. Drink good beer.

6. Okay, I lied. Here’s One More “Don’t” When it comes to Beer or any other alcoholic beverage for that matter.


Peter Culos is an artist and beer enthusiast. One of his favorite hobbies is tracking down local breweries whenever and wherever he travels. He also enjoys brewing his own beer and writing about our country’s history at Oh, and he has a fabulous girlfriend.