” I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
I love craft beer and just about everything the culture around it entails. But, honestly, it wasn’t always like that. I used to think it was just about the worst tasting thing I could imagine. I grew up in the land of American Lagers and I had never had any exposure to anything else so, naturally, that’s all I thought beer was. I was baffled by how many people considered beer a staple in their lives- and their refrigerators. I would watch people at barbecues and events, sipping their beers and acting as if they actually enjoyed it. I couldn’t figure out the secret- so I didn’t try. I resigned it to the “don’t know, don’t care” category and was fine with it staying that way. When I would explain this to friends that drank beer, they’d all react the same way- with a shrug and a, “It’s just an acquired taste.”
An acquired taste.
I despised that phrase. What did that even mean? That I had to just keep forcing myself to drink something that disgusted me until I convinced my brain and taste buds to become a victim of Stockholm Syndrome? That seemed far from logical. So I’d respond with the same disdainful frown and that’s how the dance went for quite some time.
I know many people who are still doing this same dance. And, I’ll give you: craft beer is not for everyone. But it is for most people. As I found out, it’s not about tricking yourself into something, it’s about figuring out what you authentically like. Thankfully, the world of craft beer is vast enough to provide countless opportunities to explore personal preferences.
For me, my introduction into craft beer was accidental. I stumbled upon hard ciders and found myself savoring the crispness and balanced fruit flavors. I began to even welcome that light carbonated alcohol flavor that had once caused me to snarl my nose up. From there, I’ll admit, it wasn’t too difficult to see the transition into appreciating beer but I was still pretty far from the willingness to try it. I do attribute the rest to surrounding myself with people who understood and had a passion for the craft.
The easiest aspect of the craft beer world to fall in love with is the people. The entire atmosphere is of joyful acceptance. I have met very few people in the craft beer world that have an elitist attitude. As with anything, I promise they exist but you have to look pretty hard in most cases to find them. I could walk into a brewery as someone who didn’t understand/care for beer or as someone who now is passionate about it, and be greeted with the same amount of respect. Most are just so enamored by the craft that all they want to do is share. It’s not about competition or exclusiveness. Quite the opposite, actually.
Hearing craft brew enthusiasts converse about beer really brings to light why it’s considered a “craft.” It’s similar to hearing an artist talk about their masterpiece. There is so much care put into every aspect and so much enthusiasm, it really is infectious. But this is one thing I’m so glad I caught.
I want to share my love for beer with everyone, especially those that find themselves in the shoes I used to be in. The world of beer can sometimes be so overwhelming that it feels like an ocean that’s about to engulf you. Occasionally, it still feels like that- but, now, it’s in a good way. They say there is “a craft beer for everyone” and I want to help make those love connections. I want to explore and expand every step of the journey to craft beer. I hope to present beers for non-beer drinkers, provide practical knowledge about the craft for those that wish to better understand what they drink, and review and suggest brews for those that already found -or are in the process of finding- their place in the beer world.
The phrase “acquired taste” doesn’t bother me anymore. I’ve come to understand that it refers more to gaining a knowledge and appreciation, rather than a form of passive peer pressure. I hope I can help change the meaning for you, as well.