Context Matters

I’m sitting on a white sand beach in Panama sipping a crisp Balboa lager, (the local beer), and reading Beer Hunter, Whiskey Chaser, a collection of essays in honor of the late Michael Jackson. It’s an interesting choice for this vacation, we won’t see a craft beer for nearly ten days, but every selection in the book will make my taste buds water for some refined malts and hops.

One essay in particular, When’s the Right Time for Barley Wine? by Stephen Beaumont, gets me thinking about how good the free-flowing Balboa beer actually is, particularly with the sun beating down and the waves crashing. While a Dale’s Pale Ale from Oskar Blues might taste good right now, there’s probably not a Winter Holiday Ale or a Barley Wine anywhere in the world that would be enjoyable to drink at this moment. Continue reading