Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How I got into Craft Beer (Part 1)

**Since I will be busy with moving over the next few days, I will not the have time to do beer reviews. Instead of leaving you all hanging, I put together some materials in advance to hold you all over until I get settled in. Hopefully you'll like reading these as much as I enjoyed putting it all together**

Many of us fondly remember when we had our first beer, but some of us also remember our first time discovering the world of craft beer. For some, it was trying out something new at a friends house. For others, it came to us when we were out at the bar and were curious to try out the new draft offering.

I often get asked how I got into craft beer and the answer is...well, I always find myself having to explain how exactly I got into it. Usually I'll say it was a process of trial, error, and the perseverance of human will....but that usually leaves people with a look of confusion on their face. So instead of having to tirelessly explain my tale, I figured to myself "Why not put it in writing form?"

My journey began when I first turned 21 years old. I had just left the DMV, having updated my license and was looking to celebrate my new-founded perk of finally obtaining alcohol legally. Conveniently located right down the street from the DMV was a liquor store, so I made my way over there and spent about 20 minutes deciding what beer to get. Since I didn't know what quality beer was, I settled for a six-pack of regular Coors. It's what all the cool kids drink, right?

Upon arriving back at my dorm that evening, I chipped away at a couple of beers while playing Halo 3 online with a couple friends of mine. During my time getting run over by a warthog driven by the blue team I pondered over the rather subpar taste of Coors and figured it would take some getting used to. Over the next couple of years, I would occasionally dabble with other macro beers like Budweiser, Rolling Rock & Milwaukee's Best before settling for Canadian imports like Labatt Blue & Kokanee. The world of craft beer was, at the time, not yet known to me.

Me circa 2009 AKA simpler times
Fast forward a couple years to 2009, I was at Pizza Luce is South Minneapolis with a few friends of mine when it was suggested to me that I try out a certain craft beer. Not knowing what a craft beer was, it was explained to me that it was beer but independently made and it came in many different styles. At this point, buzzwords like Tripel, Dubbel, IPA, Saison & English Pale Ale were thrown at me like I was on the wrong end of a one-sided food fight.

I caved in and ordered a pint of Surly Furious much to the delight of my friends. Upon the initial sip, I almost immediately spit it out, much to the shock of my friends. My underdeveloped palate convinced me that instead of getting beer, I got a glass full of Pine-Sol. I immediately flagged down the server with the Salvador Dali mustache, asked him to bring me a tallboy of Grain Belt, and openly told him that drinking the beer I had was comparable to that of having my taste buds violated by industrial-grade cleaning chemicals.

The look on his face was that of disappointment, anger and disbelief, all rolled into one. It didn't help that, as he was walking away, I heard him say "I can't believe ANYONE would talk that way about Surly." To him, I was the worst human being to walk the face of the earth in his eyes; All because of my horrible taste in beer.

I could not figure out for the life of me why he had taken such offense to my comments. Well, the beer in question that I ordered at the urging of my friend was none other than Surly Furious, considered by many craft beer fans to be amongst the best IPAs in America.....and I had just compared it Pine-Sol. Looking back, I'm very surprised that I made it out of there alive that night.

And that, my friends, is my first exposure to the world craft beer!

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