11 Common Misconceptions About Beer

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iStock

If beer only conjures up images of frat boys pounding cans of the cheap stuff or doughy sports fans reveling in the alcoholic refreshment before, during, and after a big game, think again. Beer has come a long way, baby, and many of the preconceived notions about the beverage are decidedly unfair, as evidenced by the following 11 fabrications.

1. BEER SHOULD BE SERVED ICE COLD.

All of those neon ice cold beer signs are actually bad news for beer drinkers. To properly enjoy their beer, it should be served at 44 degrees Fahrenheit (with a little leeway depending on the type of beer you’re drinking—a barrel-aged Stout, for example, should be served only lightly chilled). The reason is that taste buds become dead to the taste of the drink when it is served any colder, which means you’re not really tasting anything or getting the most enjoyment out of your beer.

2. FROSTED BEER MUGS KEEP IT CLASSY.

Piggybacking on the falsehood that beer should be guzzled cold, it also shouldn’t be served in a frosted beer mug. Would you serve wine in a frosted glass? No. An intensely cold beer mug will also numb your senses to the taste of the beer.

3. ALL DARK BEERS ARE HEAVY.

If you’ve been avoiding dark beers because you fear their intensity, you’ve been sorely misguided. “People naturally assume they are heavier,” says Hallie Beaune, a rep for Allagash Brewing Company and author of The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer. “I think it’s that connection to Guinness, which promotes itself as creamy and almost like a meal, that’s the feeling they give in their commercials. For a lot of people that’s the first dark beer they’ve had so they assume they’re all similar when, really, dark beers are just dark because of the roast level of the malt that’s used in the beer.”

4. GUINNESS IS INHERENTLY FROTHY.

Sure, Guinness is served all creamy and delicious-looking, but Beaune explains it has less to do with the beer itself and everything to do with the tap most stouts use, which has more nitrogen than the standard tap (generally a mix of nitrogen and CO2). To deliver all that frothiness, a stout faucet, which has a long, narrow spout, is used.

5. DRINKING BEER FROM THE BOTTLE IS THE BEST WAY TO ENJOY IT.

Sure, a bottle may look more refined than a can, but it’s still not the appropriate vessel. “Drinking beer from the bottle is another no-no, mostly because what you taste comes from your olfactory senses from your nose, so if you take a sip of something from that kind of bottle your nose isn’t participating at all,” says Beaune. “It’s too small for you to get a whiff of the beer. Just like if you were drinking red wine out of a wine bottle, you wouldn’t really be able to evaluate that wine.”

6. YOU CAN STORE BEER ANYWHERE.

Think again! All beer should be stored in a refrigerator. It responds best to cold, dark storage.

7. "SKUNKY" IS JUST A CUTE WORD FOR BEER GONE BAD.

There is actually a reason why seemingly rancid beer is termed "skunky." “Light can hurt beer—they call it lightstruck,” says Beaune. “The light interacts with the hops in beer (the four ingredients in beer are malt, water, hops and yeast), and it can actually have this chemical reaction that creates a smell that’s the same as a skunk gives off, which is why you hear about skunky beer.”

8. ALL BEER BOTTLES ARE CREATED EQUAL.

Darker bottles are important. Clear or green bottles may be pretty, but they’re not doing much to protect your beer from light. Dark beer bottles work best to help retain its intended flavor.

9. CANNED BEER MEANS CHEAP BEER.

Cans are actually a great way to protect beer, but in the old days they would often give the beverage an aluminum taste. “Most of the cans the craft breweries are using nowadays have a water-based liner so the beer isn’t actually touching the aluminum,” says Beaune. “It can be really good for beer. Cans heat up and cool down very quickly, too, so you obviously want to keep them cold.”

10. BEER IS MUCH SIMPLER THAN WINE.

You’ve got your four ingredients—malt, yeast, water and hops—what could be more basic than that? Manipulating those ingredients in various ways will give you different varieties, but breweries are doing some really cool stuff by adding flavors you’d never dream would work so well in beer. “A lot of the flavor in beer comes from the malt or the hops or yeast, but then there’s all of this freedom in beer,” says Beaune. “We did a beer at Allagash called Farm to Face, which is a pretty tart and sour beer. We added fresh peaches to it from a local farm. You can’t do that with wine—you can’t add peaches. People add everything you can imagine to beer like pineapple, coconut, every fruit—there are no rules. That’s one of the fun things about beer, it’s a lot like cooking, you can add rosemary, you can add whatever you want. Everybody experiments. It keeps the beer world really interesting.”

11. BEER WILL GIVE YOU A BEER BELLY, BUT COCKTAILS WON'T.

Sure, anything in excess will contribute to weight gain, but beer is hardly the most calorie-laden drink you’ll find in a bar. Much of the flack beer gets (i.e. the “beer belly”) goes back to the fallacy that beer is particularly heavy. “Most glasses of wine are pretty high in alcohol and a lot of cocktails are way higher in calories,” says Beaune. “If you drink a margarita that’s one of the highest calorie things you can drink.”

Love Red Wine But Hate the Stains It Leaves on Your Teeth? Wine Wipes Can Help

yula/iStock via Getty Images
yula/iStock via Getty Images

How your mouth looks after a glass of red wine depends on your genes and hygiene habits. People with strong enamel and not a lot of plaque can emerge from a wine bar with a relatively clean smile, but for those of us without those markers of exceptional dental health, red wine usually leaves dark, unsightly stains. If you fall into the latter group, there's a way to enjoy wine and preserve your smile without sticking to whites and rosés.

Using Wine Wipes is a convenient way to remove red wine stains from your teeth. The wipes come in individually wrapped packets like wet wipes. If you suspect your mouth is looking more purple than you'd like it to, tear open a packet, remove the wipe, and rub it over your pearly whites to make them pearly white again. The wipes comes in an orange blossom flavor, which won't spoil your palate in case you want to have another glass of wine or two.

Woman with wine wiping teeth.
Amazon

The Wine Wipes are billed as toothbrush alternative for when you're drinking outside your home, but wiping your teeth may be even better that brushing them if you want to remove wine stains. The bristles of a toothbrush can scratch enamel, creating entry points for dark pigments. While brushing your teeth can help reduce stains if you do it 30 minutes before you start drinking, or after you’ve had your last glass, Wine Wipes can be applied between glasses.

A package of 12 2-inch wipes is now available on Amazon for $5.74. If you want to stay extra prepared, the wipes also come in packs of 36, 48, and 60.

Wine Wipes packet and box.
Amazon

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Host an Epic Summer Party at This 40-Seat Pop-Up Bar—Without Leaving Your Backyard

The Yard Bar
The Yard Bar

Wishing you could go down in history as the host of the best backyard summer bash that your neighborhood has ever seen?

With the Yard Bar, you can. The portable bar, created by husband-and-wife team Andy and Kerri Marin, is 30 feet long, seats up to 40 people, and comes with virtually everything you need for an unforgettable party: wooden bar stools and high-top tables, a flat-screen TV and commercial sound system, recessed lighting, running water, a generator, and plenty of room for a fully stocked bar. And the retractable awning will prevent any actual rain from raining on your parade, wedding, birthday party, or whatever offbeat summer holiday you might be celebrating.

You’ll have to provide the alcohol yourself, but don’t worry if you don’t have much bar-stocking experience—the Marins can work with you to create specialty cocktail recipes for your event, and they’ll even help you figure out how much alcohol you’ll need depending on the size of your party.


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If your own yard isn’t quite ideal for such a legendary affair in the making, feel free to book the Yard Bar for somewhere less conventional. “If you can imagine it somewhere, it can probably go there,” Kerri Marin told Philadelphia Magazine, “It’s even been on top of a boat!”

The simple, rustic elegance of the Yard Bar achieves the perfect blend of indoor warmth and outdoor freshness, and it’s a great solution for people who love the idea of going to a bar, but aren’t so keen on the crowded, rowdy, noisy nature of hordes of strangers drinking in a contained space.

The Marins have seen such success with their Philadelphia-based bar that they’ve now expanded to upstate New York and several areas of Florida, including Orlando, Tampa, and Miami.

If you’d like a portable pub with more of an Irish vibe, be sure to check out The Shebeen or the inflatable PaddyWagon.

[h/t Philadelphia Magazine]

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