Love Beer.
Sound Smart.
Drink well.

Boiling kettles at the Budvar brewery
 Why take A Short Course in Beer?

Because it’s time to learn what much of the world already knows: beer is complex, delightful and an interesting companion to good food. There are so many people who have discovered this lately that there’s a community of beer-lovers who are devoted and knowledgeable about good beer. Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but this beer-loving community seems attached to some solid, earthy values that seem suddenly appropriate. Beer has become the drink of the energy-conscious, conservation-oriented, planet-sparing gourmet. You can raise a glass of something delicious and be on the side of the angels.

Because pleasure is a vitamin for the soul, and beer is one of the most available, affordable sources of pleasure in the world. I can, without stretching my budget, afford to drink a portion of one of the best beers in the world every single day. The same amount of money will buy a glass of fairly tolerable wine.

If you haven’t been paying attention, you might be surprised by all this: beer used to have a bad reputation in some places and it may have even earned that reputation once upon a time. How seriously could we take a drink associated with

drunken kegger parties

lager-crazed soccer fans

freezing-cold tasteless liquid and

moronic TV commercials?

For years, beer was trapped in a word-association game with the verb "swill."

He savored his _____ ? Wine!

She swilled her _____ ? Beer!

But things have changed. Some of the most creative minds in the world of taste are brewing delicious beer and others are cooking food to complement it. Historic craft-beer traditions are being revived, and new ones are being created. Brewpubs are brewing their own beer and home brew enthusiasts are following suit. There are craft-beer festivals and beer-tasting parties. For the competitive types, there are even competitions and medals and bragging rights. Most of all, there’s a lot of startlingly delicious, beautiful beer available for your pleasure. It’s time to get in on the fun.