Wow, that was a long holiday. I hope you had a great holiday season and everything was merry and bright. Right now I feel like I a fish discovering that it can breath underwater (figure that one out).
To get back into the swing of things I am jumping right into the Session for January. Rebecca from the Bake and Brew hosts this month’s session. Let’s read here portion before I jump into my additions for the month.
The Session #83 – Against the Grain
Well I want to hear what you think about the following:
How much is our taste or opinion of a craft beer affected by what friends and the craft beer community at large thinks? What beer do you love that no one else seems to get? Or what beer do you say “no thanks” to that everyone can’t get enough of?
I can find myself wondering sometimes when I’ve had an extremely popular beer, but haven’t been all that “wowed”…is it me? Am I missing something here? Was there too much hype? Could there be such a thing as taste inflation? If we really want to dive further into this, is it really only “good” if a large portion of the craft beer community says it is or is our own opinion and taste enough?
The questions posed by Rebecca bear some thought. They could be answered easily without much thought into the answer. An obvious example being the power behind the macro brew machine.
We are told that these beers are fantastic and life changing by their advertising. The sheer enormity of their sales numbers speaks volumes of how great the beer is. If this were our example to answer her questions then yes, the majority rule tells us how great a beer is. But if this were true then everyone would drive the same car, or eat the same food, or have 2.5 kids.
Craft beer is one of the things that broke us free of the same bland everyone is the same mentality. We are wonderfully different individuals making a greater whole.
This may not happen for everyone, (back to individual tastes) but that first sip of craft beer opens a world of flavors that didn’t exist in our flavor world before. Think of it like the first real taste of chocolate as a child.
Maybe it was too much for your palate. That in your face richness turned you off to ever wanting to taste it again. Or maybe it ignited something in you and from that moment on you could never get enough. An IPA is like that at times. The flavor can overpower your senses, sometimes scary, other times a driving force.
But here is the kicker, not all IPAs are the same. Not all chocolates are the same. I am not a fan of chocolate. But sea salt or bacon mixed with chocolate, I can’t get enough of stuff like that. I love IPAs but they aren’t my favorite all the time. Most of the time I would rather drink a malty dopplebock or maybe a nice caramelly red.
I rarely pay attention to reviews. For me what someone else thinks of a beer is rarely relevant to how I will enjoy the beer. I would much rather explore and find something I haven’t had before so I can approach the beer with an open mind. My palate is not your palate, our tastes will always be slightly different even when we like the same things.
Taste and smells are strongly linked to memories. This is why comfort foods give us the feelings that they do. They remind us of our childhood and happier times. They fill an emotional need that we all have built into our psyches.
I don’t know, have I stepped into a completely different topic now? Let’s approach this from a completely different angle. Instead of worrying about overrated and underrated bears, why not look for comfort beers. Which beers are the ones that fill that emotional need for flavor. Which ones bring up memories we might not realize we still wish to experience in our lives.
You see that is a big thing. In the right environment even that macro beer that most craft beer enthusiasts have contempt for will fill an emotional moment in our lives.
Beer is a social lubricant. It is how we share our time with others that bolsters its flavors. Through my many years of drinking and even not drinking I can vividly remember a few beers. These memories have less to do with the beer itself and more to do with the company I was with.
Before anyone gets their panties in a twist, these are not alcoholic memories. Great beer like great food is an important part of our social lives. Humans are social beings. Like adding spice to good food, the beer, wine, what have you that is added to the gathering adds a nuance of flavor that can make memories that last a lifetime.
I don’t know. Maybe I answered the questions, maybe I didn’t. All I can say in the end, underrated, overrated neither one is important in the long run. All that really matters is how the beer tastes to you. What memories do the flavors in that glass in front of you bring to the party?
Time for a pint…