When I was in university I didn’t know much about beer. I drank it when I went out to the pub but that was about it. I usually ordered something cheap like Labatt 50 (hello student budget) or sometimes splurged on Creemore (before it was bought by Molson) or Sleeman (before it was bought by Sapporo).
It wasn’t until I started doing beer tours that I really got to know what beer is all about.
What is a beer tour, you ask? It’s simple. You go to your local beer store. You pick some beers. The only real rules are that you can’t pick two of the same beers and that the beers should be ones you’ve never had before. Easy peasy!
BC – Before Commencing beer tours
Before I had this bright idea I really didn’t know much about different kinds beer. I couldn’t tell you about the bitterness in IPAs or the citrus in saisons. I knew nothing of the depth in stouts or the maltiness in a brown ale.
I also didn’t know what I liked, or what I didn’t. I had only ventured as far into the beer world as lagers and pilsners. They’re delicious, don’t get me wrong, but they’re also just the tip of the beer iceberg. The beerberg, if you will.
How I toured the beer
It all started during a regular hang out with my friend Matthew. We were planning a movie night or a games night or something and decided to grab some drinks to accompany our plans. While at the store I decided we should do a bit of vicarious travelling and so we each picked 3 or 4 beers, all from different places and all new to us.
Was every beer a winner? Heck no. There were beers I loved, but there were also beers I took one sip of and slid over to Matthew, hoping he would make it go away. Funny though, that didn’t seem to happen the other way around…
AD – After Doing beer tours
I now have a much better sense of what I like and what I don’t. And, proudly, I’m now pretty good at guessing whether or not I’ll like a new beer. It’s intuitive, since I don’t have any formal beer education, but it hasn’t steered me wrong yet.
I’ve also noticed an interesting quirk in my consumption. I rarely (and I mean rarely) order the same beer twice in a row. If my first beer was a Beau’s Lug Tread, I’m 99% likely to order anything else for my second beer. I think I’ve inadvertently taught my palate to crave variety. Maybe this is why I’m always excited for my advent beer calendar.
What’s the last new-to-you beer you tried?