The paradox of experience

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by draheim, Jan 28, 2013.

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  1. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,489) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    “ …most of the beer aficionados suffer from sensory overload when we walk into a really good bottle shop or a liquor barn like Total Wine.”

    That sentence ‘reminds’ me of a story:

    I live in Pennsylvania where the principle way you buy beer is by the case at a retail beer distributor (which are usually ugly boxy warehouse sort of places). I am a bit fortunate that in Southeastern PA a few ‘bottle shops’ have opened where you can buy beer by the six-pack (and some places sell singles). Anyhow, last Dec. 12 (12/12/12) I traveled down to a Total Wine & More in Claymont, Delaware; I was on a ‘mission’ to buy a brick of Westy 12. I called up to confirm that they had them in stock (over 30 left). In the period of time it took me to get there (45 minutes) they sold out. The Total Wine beer dude informed me with a big grin on his face: “We just sold the last package”. When life throws you lemons it is time to make lemonade. I bought a number of singles including non-super craft beers:

    · Yuengling Lord Chesterfield Ale. It was a tasty beer but unfortunately a bit skunked (damn green bottles!)
    · Saranac Black Forest (Schwarzbier style beer): this beer was not very good. I didn’t have the presence of mind to check the date on this bottle at purchase; it was a number of months old. Maybe it wasn’t so good due to age?
    · Furst Wallerstein Zwickel (a Bavarian Kellerbier): This beer was excellent!
    · Other single beers I can’t remember

    I also purchased a six-pack of Sam Adams Black Lager; that is very good Schwarzbier!

    I also bought many bottles of wine; Total Wine has an excellent selection of wines and many are reasonably priced.

    My primary motivation of the above story is to demonstrate that I am capable of buying non-super craft beers but only in small quantities (e.g., one bottle). I will declare myself to be fully “horizontal” when I purchase a case of Torpedo at a beer distributor.

    highdesertdrinker likes this.
  2. SaCkErZ9

    SaCkErZ9 Poo-Bah (2,214) Feb 27, 2005 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    If 8 years is new, then YES! but that is a lot of beer!
  3. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (832) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I know a number of wine snobs who have this problem. If i ever get to the point where i can't enjoy a SNPA because i had something better. I will go back to drinking Bud.
  4. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,446) Mar 18, 2010 California

    Drinking beer is all individualized. Some people can be perfectly happy drinking a core set of beers, while others like to explore and try most things. Very few people will become beer experts at beer. Now ranch dressing is another thing:

    bainard likes this.
  5. danieelol

    danieelol Savant (957) Jun 15, 2010 Australia

    I'm more critical of beers now but I don't see that as a bad thing. I think it's good that I have developed my palate so that I can appreciate more where a certain beer lies in the grand scheme of things. I have not found that rarity correlates with quality- there are many "limited" beers in Australia which aren't necessarily very good for example. Plus, once you have a really intensely great beer I find it satisfies you for a while.

    I make sure I thoroughly research most beers before buying them to make sure they're worth the money. If an IPA, Imperial Stout or Sour is below about 75% by style and doesn't have anything else special going for it I will usually skip it. But I just see that as the sensible thing to do.
  6. bainard

    bainard Initiate (133) Mar 15, 2006 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    As one of more than a few people whose avatars are those of classic, if not mainstream, records, I appreciate the hell out of a post like this. With experience comes appreciation, for quality and lack thereof, but also for one's own personal tastes. There are macro lagers that I'm willing to indulge in on the nights when a craft brew isn't available, and being able to pick out the qualities and flaws within that beverage can be just as pleasurable and rewarding as enjoying a barrel-aged imperial stout. That could very much be a celebration of one's own personal expertise and education, but that's also the prize I give myself for not going into academia. I would imagine more than a few people on this site could have aimed for such endeavors, but instead we'd rather discuss Kantian concepts or feminist theory at the pub. It all turns into water in the loo anyway. Might as well enjoy it.
  7. devlishdamsel

    devlishdamsel Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2009 Washington

    I completely agree. If anything i find myself more accepting of styles the more beer I try. Sure there are a few beers, namely lighter lagers that i just cant appreciate anymore ( i taste the dimethyl in them in a lot of smaller brewery batches, no thanks!) but this doesn't mean i have come to hate things i once loved. In fact in some cases I find it only sets in stone the excellence of beers I have already been enjoying. Personally i am far more worried that understanding from a brewers standpoint why a beer tastes the way it does, will ruin certain beers for me!
  8. IamMe90

    IamMe90 Initiate (0) Sep 4, 2012 Wisconsin

    If you really enjoy adjunct lagers like bud as much as a wonderful imp stout, barleywine, sour, or what have you, I'm just not sure what to say. Every style has its place but if you really find drinking a cold bud light on a hot day as enjoyable as a succulent and wonderful imperial stout in the winter... i just can't imagine.
  9. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (832) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    well stated
  10. brewbetter

    brewbetter Initiate (0) Jun 2, 2012 Nauru

    Nice thread, great questions.

    I find that I am more critical than most and I am often critical of beers that most people love. I feel like I might be offending some people when I'm critical like that, but that's just how I enjoy the whole beer learning experience.

    It's not inevitable, I think these hyper-critical people are the minority, even amongst the more experienced crowds. I can't speak for the "experts," but as a critical person, I'm definitely still loving every second of a brew even if I have something critical to say about it. I do find that I'm going to greater lengths, expense, and effort to find interesting beers, but that's just the nature of the beast. I suppose I could just enjoy a beer without comparing it to my favorites within the style, but I wouldn't be enjoying the whole experience as much. There is no top of the mountain.
    draheim likes this.
  11. CellarGimp

    CellarGimp Disciple (335) Sep 14, 2011 Missouri

    I am the opposite. Now I can see the good in everything whether I like it or not. But yes it gets harder and harder to be "blown away". Truly awful beers are infrequent though.
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