Have you ever drank a beer that became a battle, more than an enjoyable experience? Maybe a beer that was far bigger than you had anticipated? Something you felt determined to drink, just so you can say you conquered that son of a bitch, and you are all that is powerful. Or perhaps it is something that is just so bad, all you want to do is slap it around a bit. Or maybe you were on the verge of passing out, but you just wanted that one last beer, and the valiant struggle between taste bud fulfillment and the velvety embrace of sleep that ensued.
That's quite a range of beery unhappinesses. Can I go there? Well, it's coming up on eight years since I wrote the "unripe Annapolis Valley Gravenstein green apple of my Nova Scotian youth gone mad with aspirations of manure pile. Quite plainly watery at the outset then acid and more acid...then one note of poo." That all sounds so much more appealing to me now. Forty-three has nothing on fifty-one. I generally don't write bad reviews of beer though I did pour out one of the earlier Allagash wine barrel efforts. Not to make the breweries look good or anything. It's just dull to get worked up about this bottle or that when the whole of the craft thing is so bizarre. Bizarre enough to make me write a book about it with Max.
I suppose over time I might have the reputation as something of a neg. Or at least a nag. But for the most part, I like good beer. I drink way less than I used to and am pretty pleased to have lived through a few passing fads. Triple IPA stupidity is pretty much done. Food and beer pairing is a bit wide leg jean now. Even gateway fruit flavoured "saisons" may have had their day now that the newbies who gravitate to them have turned to beers that taste like beers or - as often as not - turned to the next fad drink. People of beer are slowly but surely migrating back from the cliff edge and finding more and more time for well made beers of moderate strength that explore the water, the hops, the yeast and the malt. Good thing, too, for however many gaks I pour out, however many new adventures for Al and Max I have sketched out... beer is pretty good stuff. Why else would I have bothered with it?