Malaysia: The (lack of) Beers.

This won’t be a long post. Although I was in Malaysia for all of six days, I feel that there’s definitely a shortage of good beer places. Considering the fact that I was bird-watching (e.g., in the woods) for three days, maybe my observations are a little skewed. I did ask at a couple of places for what looked like a good beer … they were out. Basically, they enjoy their lagers … and not good ones. Well… Carlsberg is ok.

You can tell that I was drinking them … But for sure, they are lagers. So … if traveling to Malaysia, I wouldn’t make it a destination for craft beer drinking.

Beer Mentor

Beer 26/Day 26 – Bavik Pilsner!



Well I ended up at my favorite wateringhole for the 3rd time this week on Friday!  Haha.  That place is going to bleed me dry.  Oh well … I will have a Beermentor’s Neighborhood entry on this place soon.  This is a quick hitter blog though … I had the Bavik Pilsner as my 26th beer.  Not really my favorite Belgian beer but it is easy to drink.  I sometimes drink one of these to cleanse my palate before going for the more flavorful Belgians.  Seems to work.

.Beer26 - Bavik Pils

Oh well … they can’t all be fantastic beers.  Wait a second?  Why not?  My goal for my next 2 weeks is to have one fantastic beer after another!  Stay tuned.

Beer Mentor


Recognized Beer Judge (from the BJCP)

Well, my results came back from my test — I’m now a recognized beer judge according to the Beer Judges Certification Program.  My challenge is going to be finding some events to judge here in Africa for the next year — I will have to put the full court judging press on when I return to the USA in March to meet the criteria for judge’s points.

As I stated in a previous post, this was a very difficult test.  I understand they are changing the testing procedures … check the site above.  There were two parts really to the previous test:  1) Beer tasting section and 2) the technical/brewer’s knowledge.  Not that I’m making any excuses (but I am), I couldn’t put the effort into studying that I wanted to so my written test score was pretty low: a 61.  My tasting score was a 71 (in the “certified” category) — however, my cumulative score for judging was a 65.  This means I am a Recognized Beer Judge.  Yes.  The question you should have now is “is he really a mentor?”   Hell yes.  Trust me on this.  haha.

Either way–I’m just enjoying life!

Beer Mentor

Gluten-Free Beers

Ok, let’s talk gluten-free beers for a moment.  For those who don’t know gluten is considered to be “wheat grain protein.”  The offending protein, gluten, is found in wheat, barley, rye–obviously, for beer drinkers, no barley is a bad thing!  If you are allergic to this, then “gluten” is a toxin to  your body–read more here: Celiac Sprue

So there are several companies out there who are now making beers that are gluten-free–that means the beer is made from sorghum, or buckwheat, rice, or any other non-gluten grain.   This list is based on beers my wife (who is gluten-intolerant) tells me are good to her (it doesn’t matter if they are good to me — I can drink any beer I want!)

So, from someone who is a “Celiac,”  here’s her beer opinions:

Bard’s–this beer is ok, but not her favorite.  This would probably be the last gluten-free beer she would chose.  It’s just too light, not enough character.

Green’s — these guys make several gluten-free beers.  The ones my wife has had are English or Belgian-style beers which are basically a Belgian Strong Pale Ale (Quest), a Dubbel (Endeavour), and an English Strong Ale (Discovery).  I know what the beer advocate ratings say, but these are very good gluten-free beers.  She would recommend these to any Celiac. (They are higher alcohol beers, though, so be careful)

RedbridgeYeah, I know, an Anheuser-Busch beer.  But she really likes this one–it is her daily go-to beer.  I keep a stash of this in the fridge for her and, when she’s not drinking wine, she likes to grab one of these.

Finally, the last beer she had was a Spanish beer that is gluten-free: Estrella Damm.  This one has won a gold medal the last couple of years … it is an excellent, gluten-free beer.  This one is probably moving up to be her favorite.

She will continue to sample other gluten-free beers as she gets the chance–the selection is growing … which is wonderful for her!


Beer Mentor

Victory: Whirlwind Witbier!

Tonight’s brew? Victory Whirlwind Witbier.   I started with high expectations for this beer and couldn’t decide if I wanted to keep the high or not.    After the first sip, I was trying to decide if a witbier can be too light.  The color is nice — that’s not what I mean by too light.  The aroma is spot on for a Witbier.  Even when I taste it … excellent!  But the finish just seems to be a little too light … and then I think, could I be trying to change the style?

Today I was given a lesson on American-style Hefeweizens … and I realized I judged another beer in my mind based on the wrong style.  Was I trying to do this to a Witbier?  Isn’t it supposed to have a light finish?  Well, I went to the experts: The BJCP (The Beer Judge Certification Program)–I was right.  What I’m calling light, they call thin … and it shouldn’t be.  But if that’s the only flaw I find in this brew … well … ok!  It’s a good one then.


Beer Mentor

Sanwald – Weizenkompetenz seit über 100 Jahren

The Sanwald Brewery specializes in Wheat Beer.  That is all they make.  They were purchased by Dinkelacker-Schwaben Bräu (around 1977) … however they have been making Wheat beer for over 100 years.  They have four primary beers — the Hefe, the Kristall, the Dunkel (the dark) and a Low calorie Weizen.

As you will know from reading your BJCP style guidelines, “These are refreshing, fast-maturing beers that are lightly hopped and show a unique banana-and-clove yeast character. These beers often don’t age well and are best enjoyed while young and fresh. The version “mit hefe” is served with yeast sediment stirred in; the krystal version is filtered for excellent clarity. Bottles with yeast are traditionally swirled or gently rolled prior to serving. The character of a krystal weizen is generally fruitier and less phenolic than that of the hefe-weizen.”

I really liike that banana bread flavor you get with the Hefe, so it is my preference.  You will see in some later posts that I also like to mix my Weizens with some fruit juices (lemon-lime or grapefruit … maybe even banana!) … that combination is called a “Radler.”  The German word “Radler” roughly translates to “Cyclist.”  When I lived here before, I rode with a group of Germans who would stop halfway through a ride, have a couple of Radlers, and then ride back.  The juice have a little sugar kick and the mix kept the alcohol consumption / content down.    Have I stated lately that I love Germany?

Beer Mentor

Beer Apprentice – “Beer Consuming” Track #1 Syllabus

Are you ready to be an Apprentice?  Then here’s the Syllabus to confirm your apprenticeship.  beer-consuming-track-1.doc This Syllabus covers the first 20 hours of your training.  A follow on entry will have the appropriate test to confirm your progression with the associated certificate.  For the “Learning Objectives” and “Samples of Behavior,” see the attached document.

Here are the Lessons laid out for you:

Lesson A. Identify a “good” beer. (Time: 5 Hours) (Easy)

o   Go to and Review the first seven (7) entries in Beer 101: The Basics (1 Hour)

o    Review the different Beer Styles at the Brewer’s Association web page (2 Hours)

o   Purchase at least one of each of these styles and sample them: India Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Pilsner, Amber Ale, American Pale Ale, and Wheat Beer. (2 Hours)

o   Reflect on these beers, determine the style you most prefer, and continue to refine your list (Extra Credit – 1 Hour).

Lesson B. Identify “right location.” (Time: 7 Hours) (Medium)

o   Pick up to 5 different locations in your area (you may be limited on locales … but choose no more than 5) to sample “Beer.” See recent post for how to find these places (1 Hour)

o   Travel to each of those places and sample 1 or more of the styles previously sampled. (5 Hours)

o   Take time to reflect on each of the places and determine what was good and/or bad about those locations.  Strike the bad ones off your list.  Keep the good ones on it. (1 Hour)

Lesson C. Identify “right people.” (Time: 7 Hours) (Hard)

o   Think about who you might like to go drinking with.  Your decision will obviously be influenced by what you expect to get from this experience.  (1 Hour)

o   Invite the “right people” to go with you to those establishments identified in Lesson B. (6 Hours)

o   Take time to reflect on each of the individuals you went drinking with and determine who was good or bad.  Strike the bad ones off your list.  Keep the good ones on it. (1 Hour)

Beer Mentor

Beer Apprentice – “Beer Consuming” Track #1

As an apprentice on the “Beer Consuming” Track (see this link for why this is important), there are 3 basic things on which to focus as you begin your training: 1) Picking a good beer, 2) Finding the right location to consume that beer, and 3) Finding the right people with which to drink that beer.

I will be publishing a syllabus in the near future for this track but in this post I wanted to focus your attention on step #2 … the right location.  There are several options available for you to find this information.

bmplogo1.jpg#1: Beer Mapping Project:  “They find the beer. You drink the beer.”  This site does exactly what it says.  It is focused on helping you find where the beer is located, whether that is a store, a pub, a tour, whatever!  This is a good starting point for your search.

bbb-2001.jpg#2: Brookston Beer Bulletin:  Jay has an extensive website devoted to the Craft Brew industry — populated on his site are breweries all over the U.S.  Check out what he has to offer in the way of finding good brews … and many other

These two sites should keep you busy in your first lesson towards your apprenticeship.  Stay tuned for the syllabus and the test for passing the first stage of your apprenticeship!

Beer Mentor

The Beer Experience

Because I’m simple, let’s break this down into the two parts: Beer and Experience, and then bring them back together to establish the definition.  But first, let me enjoy my Budweiser American Ale … yes, and I like it too (dry-hopped with Cascade hops… part of the Experience.)

Following the simple theme … defines Beer as, surprise!, a noun.

1. an alcoholic beverage made by brewing and fermentation from cereals, usually malted barley, and flavored with hops and the like for a slightly bitter taste.
2. any of various beverages, whether alcoholic or not, made from roots, molasses or sugar, yeast, etc.: root beer; ginger beer.
3. an individual serving of beer; a glass, can, or bottle of beer: We’ll have three beers.

We won’t get into the origin here … we’ll save that for the Journeyman.  Now, for the definition of Experience (Noun and Verb):

1. a particular instance of personally encountering or undergoing something: My encounter with the bear in the woods was a frightening experience.
2. the process or fact of personally observing, encountering, or undergoing something: business experience.
3. the observing, encountering, or undergoing of things generally as they occur in the course of time: to learn from experience; the range of human experience.
4. knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed, encountered, or undergone: a man of experience.
5. Philosophy. the totality of the cognitions given by perception; all that is perceived, understood, and remembered.

verb (used with object)

6. to have experience of; meet with; undergo; feel: to experience nausea.
7. to learn by experience.

So now you can take the different parts and combine them together to understand “The Beer Experience.”  Let’s take 1 + 1 … that’s a good combo!  I would be enjoying The Beer Experience if I was personally encountering the brewing and fermentation of malted barley.  The Beer Experience would also be 5 + 3 … I consider all that is perceived in an individual serving of beer.  When I am at this level in The Beer Experience, I may consider myself a Master Beerman.   Bringing it back to simplicity, let’s just start this journey by saying The Beer Experience is observing, encountering, or undergoing things (associated with “beer”) as they occur in the course of time.  This is what brought you to this page and this is what will keep you coming back to expand your knowledge about Beer.

Let’s get started!  Oh, yeah, and let’s just shorten The Beer Experience to The BE.  Now we can practice BEing…

Beer Mentor