sorry, not sorry

I’ve embarked on a little adventure in recent weeks. If you are a friend on Facebook you have probably seen some of it.

A poet friend has written a book called Stuff Every Beer Snob Should Know, which I purchased when it was first released and then read in bits over much of a year. (And the book makes me think there can’t possibly be anything left to know about beer.)

You may recall that I grew up in St. Louis, home of Anheuser Busch, and beer was pretty much available in my best friend’s basement all of the time. (Our preference in those dark days was Busch, though we were known to drink Budweiser, Miller, and even Pabst on occasion.) Thus I had never developed a sophisticated beer palate and more or less settled on Bud Light in my recent years. (When I would get to the water stations back in my running days, I would always ask for Bud Light, which never failed to raise a smile. Not in me — I was exhausted — but in the good people who held cups of water and Gatorade out for us running fools.) One member of my running club tried to drag me out of my beer mediocrity by pressing IPAs on me, but those always felt like bricks in my stomach. About as exotic as I got in those days was to drink Boulevard Wheat, which was yummy, though not in the massive quantities that seemed to be my norm.

But although I am not (currently) running*, I am cycling on the same paved trails I used to run on. And the same trailside watering holes are still there, reminding me not to get dehydrated and urging me to continue to carb load for the exercising vigor of cycling. Thus I would go out in the late afternoon (now that the weather has turned decent enuf) and grab some miles then meet my wife (who would drive my truck with bike carrying capacity) at one of these watering holes. And because I have recently finished reading Stuff Every Beer Snob Should Know, I thought I could begin sampling the strange brew that called itself beer but that wasn’t Bud Light. If a particular craft brew was “nasty” I could wash my palate with a Bud Light. And if it wasn’t, well, maybe an adventure could begin

My first (recorded) effort in this great regard was at the beginning of this month, and I had a Lucky Bucket Lager, picked more or less randomly from the (four pages of) selections at the watering hole along the bike trail. Lagers being the closest to the Bud Light of my wandering in the wilderness time, I wanted to start with those. It was okay, but it didn’t win me over. In fairly quick succession (and grateful was I to have this motivation to hop on my bike and grab some miles) I tried a Fulton Standard Lager, a Northern Scrimshaw Pilsner, a Tecate, a Granite City Northern Lager, a Boulevard Wheat, a Harp Lager, a KC Bier Hefe-Weizen, a Dos Equis, and a Free State Johnny’s Blue Collar Lager. Alas, none of these really did anything for me, and several needed an urgent Bud Light chaser.

But then I tried a Dos Equis Amber, and it was really pretty good, and I began to think there might be hope for me. At dinner with some friends (and thus not biking related) I spontaneously ordered a KC Bier Dunkel, knowing nothing about it. As I waited for it to arrive, I looked up the meaning of the word “dunkel” and it’s German for dark. That did not bode well. I really don’t like stouts** at all, and I expected to need another Bud Light chaser to set the world right. But I was mistaken. The Dunkel was really very good. It’s not a guzzling beer, but each sip provides enuf flavor and satisfaction to equate to an entire 12 ounces of Big Bru.

The next time I was finishing with the bike trail, I ordered another KC Bier Dunkel and truly enjoyed it. Soon I had six bottles of it in my refrigerator at home and I sent a photo of this important development to the Beer Snob author. She replied “Sorry, Not Sorry.”

The adventure is not over. I’ve had enuf positive experience to think I should keep exploring and sampling and trying and savoring. (Alas, my most recent was a Pacifico, which was pretty bland, but I suppose it has its adherents.) Unfortunately, the weather has taken a turn to colder and rainy, so I won’t be hopping in my bike soon.

Still, I guess you’re never to old to learn.

__________

*I am in my dreams sometimes, which is unsettling.

**My doctor son has a minor case of gout in one of his ankles, which is ironic given that he was the athlete of my children and was known for his moderation. And he likes stouts. So as a gift, his wife gave him an enrollment in a beer making class, and he chose to brew a case (or two?) of stout beer. Of course he named it his Gout Stout!

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2 Comments on “sorry, not sorry”

  1. markparis Says:

    I’m definitely not a beer snob. In fact, this XKCD cartoon sums up my feelings about beer: https://xkcd.com/1534/

    Long, long ago I was visiting a friend in New Mexico. We had lunch at a restaurant in Santa Fe and I decided to get a Dos Equis Ambar. It was the first time I actually liked the taste of beer. A while ago my wife and I used to go to a bar that had a fairly long beer list, plus a rotating stock of beer on tap. I tried a lot of different types and never found anything I really liked. These days I have a Miler with a splash of orange juice.

    I had to give up even the pretense of running years ago, but for a while I was a pretty decent long-distance runner. Now I, too, occasionally dream about running up and down the hills, long, long distances. I’m flying effortlessly, and my knees are not hurting.


  2. BJCP has a beer style app for beer exploration, just sayin’.


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