- College — Not crazy about the taste (wonder if imbibing Miller Light and Pabst had anything to do with that?) but learned to drink lots of it, primarily to get drunk and par-tay.
- Just-post-college — Moved up to brands like Molson Golden, Heineken and Sam Adams.
- Age early-to-mid 20s — Traveled to Europe for the first time, discovered the existence of great-tasting German beers (dunkels and smoked beers and hefeweizens, ummmm), continued to expand my suds palate.
- 30s and 40s — Hooray for the growth of microbreweries and craft brewers! More palate expansion. Stouts and porters became my favorites.
- These days — wow! A plethora of exciting beers to try, from across America and across the world. Specialty beer shops, food and beer pairings, entire gourmet beer dinners — in my opinion beer is right up there with wine. (I’m sure I’ll get some flack for saying so. Just my opinion.)
I’ve continued to branch out, and grown to be a big fan lately lately of “unique” beers with lots of flavor — like Scottish Wee Heavies and Belgian dubbels, quads, strong ales and tripels. (One’s usually my limit with those high-alcohol brews. Though I have high-brow tastes, I’m a lightweight when it comes to the buzz factor.) Thank Ninkasi (an ancient goddess of brewing) for establishments like World of Beer and Tyler’s Taproom.
He said he loves them just as he’s always adored candies like Warheads and Sour Patch Kids. But I don’t love those types of mouth-puckering tastes. I don’t even like lambics, and they’re only a little sour.
So I have no rational explanation for why Petrus Aged Pale blew my socks off. It’s aged in wooden barrels for at least two and a half years, and is a mellow golden-brown in color and full-bodied and pleasantly sour in taste. Yum!
Two nights later I tried a couple more sours and found another great one: Liefman’s Oud Bruin, a sour brown ale from the Flemish region of Belgium. Again, aged for a long time, and in wood for a good chunk of it.
The only down side of all of this exploration is price. But it’s all a matter of perspective. Isn’t it reasonable to pay as much for a serving of great beer as for a decent glass of wine? (A larger serving, as a matter of fact.)
Those of you who think I’m nuts, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Trot along now, back to your Buds and Corona Lights.