Lots of things get better with age: violins, cheese, wine, acne. But engineer/writer Patrick Dawson has found one such age-improved substance that might be bubbling right under your nose.
“Most people are familiar with the concept that wines get better with age, but most people don’t realize that the same is true with beer,” Dawson tells SFR over crackly cell phone reception. His new book, Vintage Beer: A Taster’s Guide to Brews that Improve over Time, takes the reader on a true tour-de-ale, outlining plenty of craft-brew know-how for you to transform your drinking habit from run-of-the-mill barfly to highbrow suds critic.
When he isn’t scouring pubs in his home city of Denver as the resident beer writer for the North Denver Tribune, Dawson works as an engineer for the US Department of the Interior. “I’m an engineer, I like making things and home brewing is what got me into beer,” the author says as he recounts his early days as a black market beer connoisseur. “I was in college and I couldn’t get a fake ID so my friends and I found out we could brew our own beer.”
The rest, as they say, is history. “When your make things you have to pay attention to the details,” he points out.
Dawson’s tech-minded brain and his obsession with beer have more in common than a mere dorm room science experiment. “You look at wine, right…the grapes kind of decide a lot about what it’s going to be. Beer is totally the opposite,” he says, as he continues to explain the craft and ingenuity that go into making beer, from choosing the right ingredients to the brewing process. “It’s an engineers beverage.”
Above all, Dawson commends Santa Fe on its budding microbrewery scene. He says he loves to come down here to crack one open with the locals. So pull up a barstool on Friday and raise a vintage glass.