As much as I applaud healthy risk-taking and embracing change, I am, at this point in my life, a firmly entrenched creature of habit.
To put it another way, I'd rather be bored (and boring) than disappointed. I like local IPAs, but I'm also kind of a homebody, so I have conveniently developed a taste for whatever appropriately styled Colorado craft options are routinely available at the ma-and-pa liquor store a two-minute walk from my house.
Having too many options also tends to stress me out, and when it comes to beer, Colorado has a lot to offer. On the occasion I find myself staring down the graffiti splash of labels in the local aisle at a place like Coaltrain Wine and Spirits, I've been known to get overwhelmed and, in panic, default to old familiars.
If you're anything like me, I highly recommend engaging the guidance of a brewru.
I suspect your social or work circle has one; this is Colorado, after all. Mine is Gazette reporter and occasional Pikes Pub columnist Jakob Rodgers.
Jakob is passionate about beer. Bring up the topic, and it's like someone just plugged him in.
A few months back, I mentioned to him in passing that I was feeling a little meh with my staple diet of suds. Twenty minutes later, I had a dozen suggestions for New England-style IPAs - aka "juicy," "hazy" or West Coast-style - to check out. Brewru Jakob actually devoted an entire column to the style a year ago, when it was still kind of a challenge to find on shelves and at the tap.
So much for that erstwhile, edgy street cred.
Three new styles of juicy, hazy IPAS are among the new categories appearing in the Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines for 2018, which means such beers now are eligible to compete - on their own unique merits - in the Westminster of beer shows, the Great American Beer Festival this fall in Denver.
The Brewers Association's annual guidelines are meant to serve as a resource for brewers, beer judges and contest organizers, and aim to "reflect, as much as possible, historical significance, authenticity or a high profile in the current commercial beer market," according to a release from the Boulder-based trade group.
Thank you market forces, and brewru, for the introduction to my new favorite beer style. My ma-and-pa shop recently began carrying a New England IPA by Crooked Stave, which comes highly recommended by Jakob.
I love it when a lazy, hazy plan comes together, don't you?