The Session #66: The One Beer to Rule Them All
The Session this month comes from, Craig Gravina, at Drink, Drank; the subject: The One Beer to Rule Them All. The first question we have to ask, what exactly does that mean? Of course the thought process here is for the One Ring. This really is a Tolkien reference. What exactly is your one beer that could rule over all others? Is it something you need to make or is it one you can already buy?
When it comes to beer, I am a player (of course outside of beer I am a major dork). There are a few styles I tend to prefer over others but for the most part I tend to like pretty much all beer. When you look at the beers already on the market there are so many variations on styles that it can be impossible to narrow down just one.
As I sit here thinking on this, I am hit with images of the Kurgen, sword raised about to lop of his opponent’s head, screaming “There can be only one!” (figure out that reference). Maybe the quest to find the “one” follows a similar pattern. We attack challenger after challenger looking for the one, many times finding the next better beer that redefines what it is we seek in a beer.
It is no different when you brew your own beer. Each batch is an improvement over the last batch. We learn from our mistakes and find new and better ways to brew the next beer. If you are like me, you rarely brew the same beer. You may follow a similar recipe but there are so many things that can change the outcome of a formula to make a beer slightly different every time.
Another way to look at this is through the eyes of the beer companies. It wasn’t too long ago that the “King of Beer” was believed to have the greatest formula for a beer. But in the end it was more marketing trickery that is now losing out because we find that the consumers have taste buds again.
Maybe it is through this that we can learn our greatest lesson. In beer as in life, the more you tweak something, trying to make it into the “ideal,” the more you shift this or twitch that, the less distinction you will find in the finished product. It is only when something is allowed to stand on its own merits that it truly shines.
Our taste buds continue to evolve as we age. I think I will continue to happily explore, looking for that next flavor that will excite my palate. Complacency in flavor as in anything can lead to the end. As Sauron found when he placed his whole future in that “one ring,” all it took was a couple of hobbits to end his reign.
Let’s find a pint…