This was not a good beer.
The unpleasant memory of it made its way into my conciousness because the topic for the 119th running of The Session is “Discomfort Beer.” Host Alec Lathma has asked us “to write about which/what kind of beers took you out of your comfort zones. Beers you weren’t sure whether you didn’t like, or whether you just needed to adjust to.” Because he specifies that “this can’t include beers that were compromised, defective, flat, off etc because this is about deliberate styles” I probably shouldn’t be mentioning the beer to the left, because it was flawed.
But, for whatever reason (and probably because our brains are not perfect memory machines), I filed “truffle beer memory” (from France in 2008) in the bin next to “stale cigar and beer smell memory.” That’s my first beer aroma/taste memory, from when I was perhaps 10 years old and my father would host an evening of poker in our basement. I certainly was never even tempted to sneak downstairs and taste the beer. It would be days before that smell would go away and it most definitely took me out of my comfort zone.
But I can’t say that a beer has since, and in the 17 days since Alec posted the topic for The Session #119 I’ve been wondering why I would type that. Am I remembering wrong? Or is it that we all start from different places? When I was in college the only brand of beer we drank was “pitcher” and it was a not particularly hoppy, not particularly malty, not particularly anything pale lager. A few years later we decided Stroh’s had more flavor, and when I moved to Peoria we talked about the “green” taste of Pabst when we drank it from cans in a bar across the street from the brewery where it was made.
This was all before Michael Jackson wrote The World Guide to Beer and Americans were reintroduced to beer with flavor one style, something else we were just learning about, at a time. Maybe that was easier than being dropped into a world with [insert the offical number of] beer styles. Or perhaps it was because there were no expectations. Sure, Jackson gave us a list of “world classics” in 1982, but that didn’t mean you had to like them.
No, I don’t have a actual point to make.
Except this was not a good beer.