A beer on it's own can give me a very different impression when consumed alongside other beers. Common sense, I know, but I'm speaking of major shifts for the negative when paired. Differences that exist between the two beers can sometimes feel extremely exaggerated. For example, when I have a beer from cask alongside the keg version of the same beer, the carbonation in the keg version feels so prickly and pronounced that the beer becomes unenjoyable. When I have the kegged beer on its own, it's great and the carbonation is fine. Another example: There's a specific porter that tastes great when I have it on it's own. I feel it possesses a fruity complexity. Whenever I've had the beer in a side by side, it feels so overwhelmingly sweet that I can't even finish it. In each case, I feel that one beer inadvertently becomes the standard at which my perceptions become calibrated, and the other beer suffers from this in a way that betrays how one would really approach it. Why bother with this post? I guess I've seen far too many cases of beers pitted head to head and a victor declared.