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How I met your Mother *

by on 4 June, 2011

I’ve been drinking beer for a long time.  Like most teenagers around these parts, in my formative years the usual “brew” (I use the term loosely) was DB Export Gold (Although in my 20’s my preferred drink was Vodka and tonic).

I started going to the NZ Beer Festival from the very first one back in 2006.  It was awesome, drinking in the sun with live music, nothing better!  I tried a lot of beers but I kind of got lost in it, I’d written off beer as being something to savour on the whole, and thought of it more as something to get drunk on.

* N.B. — this post may have NOTHING TO DO with how I met your Mother.  It’s really about how I met Craft Beer.  In fact, chances are I haven’t met your Mother at all.  Sorry if I have disappointed.  Now keep reading 🙂

However, that changed when I tried my first Epic Mayhem in 2009 (it cost more than the others, I figured there must be a good reason, and I wasn’t wrong…)  Now that’s not to say there hadn’t been good beers at the previous festivals, but for whatever reason, I’d missed them, or not really tasted them, or not been in the right mindset about beer.  I guess you could say “the stars aligned that day”.

There was so much complexity and flavour that just wasn’t in the stuff I had always thought was beer, I guess it started up some kind of cog in my brain that had been winding away ever since, crying out for beer with actual flavour.  There were a few others at that same NZBF that were good, but I found myself seeking out more hops; needless to say, as I have since learned, Luke is some kind of lunatic when it comes to hops, and nothing came close.  The fact that he has since released even hoppier beers says it all.

But because I’ve been busy raising a little one, working, and a dozen other excuses, I didn’t seem to cross paths with much Craft Beer again.  So, I kind of went back to my old, dull existence until pretty recently (although I had since being a teenager “moved up” to more expensive (but still boring) beer).

I have for some time liked my wine and picking out subtleties in the same varietal, and trying to understand how that’s come about, has always fascinated me. (also explains my love of coffee).

It still amazes me how something made in “basically” a prescribed way from the same core ingredients in all cases, can have so much variation in the end product.  And how no matter what the brewer (or vintner, or roaster) has tried to do to “improve” the beer (wine/coffee), there is just no substitute for doing it the RIGHT way… that is to say, quality ingredients, experience, a knack for the craft, and good old hard work – but most importantly a drive to do it better, put your mark on it, and not settle for an average product that’s just like everyone elses.

So, what was the first taste that got you into Craft Beer?  I’d love to hear more stories about people starting down the path to Hopful Enlightenment!

This post was Inspired by – when I realised my comment was the size of a blog post I figured, well, what the hey 🙂


From → Hopful Thoughts

  1. Ah, I do remember this. Probably about 5 years ago we went to Dogfish Head Ale House for my birthday, and I first had their Fort (about 19% ABV – the idea of raspberries in beer peaked my interest), followed by a Midas Touch (honey beer, fabulous). Completely unconventional beers, both amazing and delicious. We drove an hour home, pulled in the garage, and I looked at my husband – with an inebriated pout – and said “I forgot my purse”. Got it all back and I was hooked on trying new craft beers. It was a good birthday!

  2. Coopers Sparkling Ale was the one that opened my mind in the late 1980s. I moved to Australia and before that my choice was limited to Lion or DB draughts and lagers. The idea that beer didn’t have to fit into the draught/lager spectrum was enlightening, even though it doesn’t seem like such a big thing now. I wouldn’t have imagined where we would be 25 years later and that NZ beers and hops would be up their with any from around the world.

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