The Sessions #83 – Against the Grain

session-logo-smOnce a month, on the first Friday of that month beer bloggers around the world take part in a thing called The Sessions. Which is also known as Beer Blogging Friday.

Those bloggers all then crap on about a predetermined topic. That topic is chosen in advance by whichever blogger has put their hand up to host that month’s session. This month’s hand belongs to Rebecca Patrick at The Bake and Brew who is worried about going against the grain of public perception.

“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?”

I follow quite a few beer geeks on Twitter so my feed seems to have a never-ending list of great beers that I need to try. Which it a bit annoying in a way, because I’m very much prone to succumbing to ‘‘the fear of missing out’’.

If I didn’t know about that beer I wouldn’t be bothered, but now that I do, I have to try and get it. And if I can’t, then it bugs me a little.

But, after all that hype, if I get my hands on that beer and it’s a bit ‘‘meh’’ or, even worse, a drainpour (hello, Rogue bacon maple doughnut beer) I feel quite secure in saying so. Because it’s only my opinion, just like all those other people who liked a beer – it was only their opinion.

But I’ll quite happily go both ways. If I have a mainstream beer, or a ‘‘faux craft’’ beer that the beer geek cognoscenti have decided is evil, and I like it, then I’ll be quite open in saying so.

For instance, many Australian beer geeks hate the Steamrail range because it’s faux craft owned by Coles Supermarkets. But I reckon the golden ale in that range is a lovely beer – certainly tastier than some real craft golden ales – and have bought a few six-packs of it.

See, to me, beer is beer. If it tastes good that’s all that matters. To me, anything else beyond that is most likely driven by image, by the fear that you won’t look cool if you say you like a certain beer.

Really, I reckon most people are cool with the fact that some people mightn’t like a particular beer. The only ones who aren’t would be the beer snobs – they’re the dickheads who think what they drink makes them a better person. And, in their puny heads, it therefore follows that if you don’t like what they do then you mustn’t be a lesser person than them.

Also, I’d reckon that in any group of people there are those who are going along with the flow. Those who don’t really feel that excited about the beer but don’t want to draw attention to themselves by saying so.

What it all comes down to is this – you like what you like. I can tell you that Beer XYZ is phenomenal but if your taste buds tell you otherwise, then that’s the end of the game. You can’t argue, coerce or convince someone into liking a beer. It’s not a rational decision government by logic. It’s governed by taste, and your ideas about taste have been created through a whole raft of experiences throughout your life. If you had a bad experience with hot dogs as a kid and you’ll probably hate the taste of them for the rest of your life, even if you don’t connect it to that memory.

Sure, you could spend ages drinking a beer everyone else likes and you don’t in the hope of making yourself enjoy it. But where’s the fun in that? Beer is supposed to be fun, not work.

So stand up for what your taste buds tell you that you like. They should be more important to you than the opinion of a dickhead beer snob anyway.


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