BitterBeer

credit: Michael Morgan of flickr.com

My dream girl has long been the woman who not only inspires me intellectually, but shares all of my passions. This includes beer. As it stands, I only have one of the two now, but batting .500 ain’t too shabby just about anywhere you go.

I have been a beer lover for decades already. When I was a teenager, a friend and I had our own method of procuring new and interesting beers even though we were not of legal age to consume them. First let me address that – I do not condone underage drinking, nor do I endorse it in any way. Frankly, half the adults I know shouldn’t be allowed to drink. They can’t handle themselves. But back to my greater point, which is that I’m a huge fan of good beer. What happened in the distant past is something that cannot be changed, there’s no point in beating a dead horse.

My old buddy Alan and I found a food market on the north side of town. It was run by an Asian family who owned and operated it. Family members were all employees. Because Alan and I were both in puberty, we were shooting up like weeds. We both towered over this family and because of my facial hair, I guess we looked the part. Let’s also note that people were carded/proofed much less back then.

Whenever we went into the food market, we would select a style of beer and purchase it. When we found a new flavor we wanted to try, we would ask the owner of the market if he could find it for us. After being regular shoppers there for a month or so, each time we would walk in the owner would take us to the cooler to show us the latest brew he got. We would keep the labels and/or bottlecaps of the beers we consumed and kept a scrapbook to index them all. By the time I turned 18, my friend Alan and I had logged over 250 domestic and import beers in this scrapbook.

Handling Relationships with Non-Beer Lovers

Fast forward to today – and getting back to the point of the story – I love beer. Every one of my friends knows this. My fiancée knows this as well. But for all of my efforts to woo her to the world of malt and hops, I can’t seem to convince her that the IPA she is sampling is delicious. Or that the Belgian Strong Dark Ale I have has flavor characteristics of dark fruits like plum and raisin. No sir, all I get is that strained, tortured sour-puss face like she just sucked on a lemon. So what’s a guy to do?

Some time ago, I hosted a craft beer tasting event in my office. I got plenty of newbies who had no idea about craft beer to taste all sorts of different styles and even identify flavor characteristics and give me their stamp of approval. It was a great awakening in my eyes. I tried to explain this to her, but she didn’t seem to follow. I think she’s just being close-minded.

credit: Richard Riley of flickr.com

credit: Richard Riley of flickr.com

Not long ago I helped my buddy Brant with the Chilltown Craft Beer Festival. I was pouring brews for them and during my time there, I got to meet Augie Carton, the patriarch of the Carton Brewing Co. from Atlantic Highlands, NJ. We discussed her lack of fondness towards beer and asked me what kind of wine she likes. We also discussed this seasonal treasure that they make called Regular Coffee. For  you folks out there, a “regular coffee” is a Jersey thing. Simply put, it means a coffee with milk and two sugars. The beer called Regular Coffee is a 12% cream ale that is brewed with coffee beans and it is fantastic. I keep thinking that this might be my way of getting her to appreciate craft beer.

Our last post on The Keg Tap was from a lovely young lady who fell into this admiration for craft beer. Her brother got her inspired to try something new and she dove in with both feet, finding something she loved even after some anxiety and apprehension. I keep wondering why I can’t do the same. I used to get a kick out of watching my fiancée making that ridiculous face when she’d try my newest flavor of beer. After all, she has no real palate and swears by that macro “flavored water” in a silver can. But now it’s really starting to bother me. I plan on spending the rest of my life with her, but I don’t want to butt my head against the wall in perpetuity. I somehow have to find a way to get her into this. As mentioned above, Regular Coffee might just be her “gateway” beer.

So how do you turn a macro drone into a craft lover? Pretty simple – offer them the choice of better beer. Explain to them what to expect in the nose and taste, how the mouthfeel will be. Best not to leave anything to surprise. Find out what they like and don’t like and get them to sample new things. At some point their palate will wake up and begin to detect things it may not have previously. They’ll eventually find something they like. They have to. Cheers…

credit: Kyle Pearson of flickr.com

credit: Kyle Pearson of flickr.com