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Drinking by Design

By: Emiliano Vazquez-Parrales, Section Editor for Student Voices (evazqu20@uic.edu)

With so much variety in the world of craft beers, going to the liquor store can at times be a little intimidating.  Beer is expensive and you don’t want to spend money on something you may not like, so why not try hosting a beer tasting?

“By having a tasting everyone brings a couple of bottles, everyone gets to try everyone else’s stock and it really doesn’t cost you more than a four pack.  Then you get to try all these different things so that when you go to the store you know exactly what you like.” says beer enthusiast Romero Ortiz.

Ortiz has hosted seven beer tastings, co-hosted another eight, and has attended approximately 50 in his years of legal drinking.  I had the chance to sit down and have a drink with Ortiz at Local Option, where he gave me rundown on hosting a successful beer tasting.

For his tastings Ortiz turns to the online beer community to compile a guest list.  Posting up flyers in sites like beeradvocate.com and ratebeer.com at least a month in advance of the tastings gives guests a chance to RSVP and you, the host, plenty of time to purchase all the necessary items for the tasting.

“You pretty much want to throw a good party”, says Ortiz, “you want everyone to have a good time because that is what everyone is looking forward to.”

Of course no good party is complete without food to accompany the beer.  Ortiz says it is always best to have greasy filling food that will help to distill the alcohol.  This gives people a chance to drink a little more and feel satisfied.  You can encourage guests to bring their favorite snacks but be sure to provide them with plenty of water.

Most of the tastings Ortiz has hosted have taken place in his house or in someone else’s house.  It may seem strange to open your door to strangers but Ortiz insists that they are all there for the beer.  At his tastings Ortiz has met chefs, bar tenders, bloggers, home brewers, professional brewers, and even beer label designers who are all there to learn from each other, enjoy making new friends and indulge in fine beers.

“They [his tastings] are all memorable, but the best moments are when someone or myself brings out an extremely rare or exotic beer.  They’ve all had a few drinks and they get all hyped up and chase after you like zombies,” says Ortiz with a smile as he drinks the rest of his Green Bullet.

 

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