It’s been a whole year since I began this blog, and I thought it time to do a self analysis of how my attitude towards beer has changed over the past 12 months. Am I on the road to becoming a world renowned beer connoisseur? Am I just a bigger fan then before? Or am I one Double IPA away from becoming an official beer wanker? Here are five facts about how my attitude to beer has changed over the past year to help decide…
1. Gone are the days when I’d try a new beer, enjoy it, and buy it again based on my previous enjoyment. There are far too many unique and crazy crafty offerings out there, and more being released every week. How could I stick to a single brew? Now when I go to a bar my thought process is “How many beers are on tap? (let’s say 12) How many have I tried before? (6 of them) Looks like I’ve got 6 beers to choose from…unless they have a bottle list!” This change in attitude can partly be explained by my addiction to everyone’s favourite beer app, Untappd. After all, how will I ever get my “1000 beer badge” if I start doubling up?!
Verdict: I’d like to say these are the actions of a fan, but there’s definitely a bit of beer wanker in there
2. I’ve picked up a nasty habit of smelling a drink every time I take a sip. This began when I started drinking big IPA’s, since the aromas from most of them are simply awesome. But it’s now become an unconscious behaviour that happens whenever I have a glass in my hand. This isn’t a problem when I’m drinking great beer, or a fine wine or whiskey. But some ‘cheaper’ beers don’t smell great to me, and smelling them just before a sip doesn’t do the flavour any favours. I’ve even caught myself sniffing a soft drink before each mouthful…I definitely have a problem.
Verdict: Hands down, the act of a beer wanker (and a habit that I’m trying very hard to break)
3. I get really excited when a brewery releases a single batch beer. So excited that I’ll spend days travelling the countryside trying to get my hands on a bottle, resorting to social media to try and find which bottle shops may have a secret stash. This fanatical behaviour is beer wanker territory, but I’m learning that it’s actually quite difficult to MISS these single batch brews. If you keep even a casual attendance at your local beer haunt, you’re bound to find them flowing through a tap eventually.
Verdict: Probably another tick in the beer wanker column, but without the frantic searches I think it’s just being a fan of great beer from great breweries.
4. I’m now the proud owner of a brewery t-shirt (thanks Stone & Wood!)But it was my girlfriend who bought it for me, and I don’t wear it to the pub so…
Verdict: Just the act of a beer fan with a loving girlfriend
5. This final point is something that I’m quite proud of. I’ve sampled many beers over the past year, and I’ve realised that there is no such thing as a bad beer. There’s beer that I like and beers that I don’t like, but the fact that I don’t like them doesn’t mean that the beer is inherently bad. For example, I love my big IPA’s but I have friends who can’t stand them. They’d much prefer a ‘crisp’ lager instead, which doesn’t really excite me anymore. Personal preference is exactly that – personal. It’s for this reason that I’ll refuse to tell a VB drinker that they’re drinking a low quality beer; if it’s what you want and what you enjoy, then it’s the best beer in the world.
Verdict: I’m counting that as a step towards being an enlightened beer connoisseur
Final verdict: I’m treading a fine line between beer fan and beer wanker, but the important part is that I’m loving every minute of it! Plus, there’s a glimmer of hope that I’m slowly becoming a wise old beer connoisseur (very slowly, but progress is progress).
With age comes wisdom, and another year will bring another few hundred beers with it. So it’s plain to see, with beer comes wisdom.