But Wait...Beer Is Our Comfort Zone

Central Market this week kicked off its Celebrate Brewtopia festival, a 12-day celebration of suds featuring cooking classes, dinners and free in-store samplings.

But Seth Stewart, beer and wine manager for the Central Market in Plano, says a few beer lovers may shirk at participating. That's because many beer drinkers aren't looking for new or better beverages.

"Beer drinkers don't necessarily think they know everything, they're just loyal," Stewart explains by e-mail. "Wine drinkers don't feel like they're cheating by trying other varietals and winemakers, whereas beer drinkers are fiercely loyal to their brew masters and like to stick with what they're comfortable with."

Stewart's trying to lure beer drinkers out of their comfort zones with an innocuous-sounding course called Beer 101. At the October 2 class, Stewart will review beer's "history, tradition, styles" over a meal of wings, mesquite-grilled oysters and beer-soaked brats. And he won't make anyone drink a Brooklyn Sorachi Ace who doesn't want to.

"Don't be afraid to try something new," Stewart pleads. "Keep an open mind and an open bottle."

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