First, thank you to everyone who is participating in this month's Session. I have loved seeing so many articles coming in so far and I can't wait to read what everyone has to say! Look out for a round-up post next week as I'm giving people a few extra days to get their thoughts in.
The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to (virtually) converge on a single beer related topic, each bringing their own unique perspective.
A good portion of my craft beer experience goes against the seemingly common experience, notably in two areas - taste and volume. I'm notoriously a lightweight, simply due to physiology and my paranoia about driving after drinking even the smallest portion. When you surround yourself with people who love craft beer, I can feel a little out of place when I'm nursing one beer over the night or leaving up to half a beer on the table so I can try another. Then there are the beers where I really seem to be the odd man out.
Let's take Teddy Bear Kisses as an example. The excitement around the release of Teddy Bear Kisses is palpable among my friends and in the online craft beer community. I have seen friends' eyes light up and visibly sparkle upon seeing that it is back. But I just can't get behind that beer. I love Upland, I'm obsessed with their new Berliner Weisse, and I love how much they embody Indiana. But it's just never been for me. I used to wonder if it was my taste, or if I was missing something important. When almost everyone you know fawns over a beer, but you're left with a "meh," it's easy to wonder if you're in the wrong. Do I have bad taste? Is my taste completely off? Will I ever get there?
Maybe we never warm to a particular style or beer. Maybe beer can be like music, where we have to be at a certain point in our journey for it to click. I was that way with Antony & the Johnsons and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. For years I couldn't wrap my head around them. I couldn't see what everyone was talking about when they raved about these artists. A few years later after they were recommended, though, it clicked. With CYHSY, I was driving back to Atlanta from my Papa's with my aunt playing their first CD, and it all came together. Maybe beer is like that too. I certainly didn't like stouts at first when I started drinking craft beer. It didn't mean I had bad taste, just that at that point in my craft beer life I wasn't at the place where I could start enjoying them yet.
Then there are the beers that I love no one else I know seems to enjoy. Most of these tend to be fruit beers, and as a lady, liking fruit beer is a hard thing to admit to anyone. Yes, fruit beer can taste syrupy. But IPAs can be too bitter, stouts can be way too malty, and porters can be way to aromatic. Any beer can be a poor example of the style. Everything has that potential. But in particular, fruit beer seems like the red-headed stepchild. There is of course a stereotype that women tend to lean toward fruit beers, so it can feel sometimes that if we do like a fruit beer then we aren't a "real" beer fan. This feels like the case so much so that I rarely hear any of my fellow female beer fans talk about fruit beer. I like Cerise. I love Festina Peche (if Indiana gets some this summer, just try and keep me away). Rubaeus was great this year. I like fruit beers. And while I'm still nervous to say that, some beers are too good to pass up just because others don't like them.
At the end of the day, even if we're at the beginning of our craft beer days, we need to have patience, confidence, and humility. The patience to let our tastes develop over time, the confidence in our gut instinct and taste, and the humility to recognize that everyone should be given the space to have their own unique taste.