Morning people, Bifur here. Today’s post is a slightly rambling one, more a train of thought than a coherent article, but I ask you to indulge me… The inspiration for this article comes from two conversations about similar topics; the first conversation was between the Manly Mens and it revolved around what beer we first drank that didn’t taste like shit (yeah I know, were erudite) and the second was from a recent episode of Experimental Brewing Podcast where Drew and Denny were discussing which beers had got them into drinking proper craft beer. These two separate yet similar conversations got me thinking about my own history with beer and where the journey had taken me…
Spoilers – My picks for answers to the two questions are these two beauties:
Many years ago, in the last century in fact (and the beginning of this one) I and my compatriots would drink lager almost to the exclusion of everyone else. Why? Because that’s what everyone drank. Most taverns we had access to sold three or four of the obvious lagers and we would wander in and drink pretty much which ever was closest to us; to the point where we would simply as for “three pints of lager, please”. We cared so little about what we were drinking that we wouldn’t even order a specific brand and in all likelihood we wouldn’t even notice what we were drinking. There’s loads of reasons why this is what we drank – pack mentality, lad culture, apathy towards beer as anything other than a means to get drunk but I think that the choices available to us played a large part in it too. These days most pubs will have at least two or three Cask ales available and most of them will be kept well. Back in the dark ages 90s and early 00s you were lucky to see one pump and the chances were that if there was a Real Ale available it would be stale and vile tasting, mostly because only one or two older guys would drink it so the barrel would sit for months and the beer would go stale. My first revelation came when the Tavern I was working in at the time started stocking Hobgoblin ale from Wychwood Brewery in bottles. The first two things that appealed to me were the branding (let’s face it the label is very Warhammer…) and the price. There was so much more beer in those bottles than in the lager ones, and it didn’t cost any extra! So, nothing to do with the taste led me to this beer but I assure you this changed when I actually got around to drinking it! All of a sudden, I was drinking a beer that actually tasted of something. A lovely sweet, malty flavour filled my face and, yes, it still got me drunk. Winning on two counts.
So I switched to bottled ales wherever they were available, trying different brands and exploring all I could. I still would drink Hobgoblin as a preference and to this day I will often get it if a bar serves it (like the Brixton Academy bars have started to do!). But what about the answer to the second question – What beer got me into Craft Beer? That’s a much more recent development… Some years ago I was bought my first bottle of Punk IPA from Brewdog Brewery, by Mrs Bifur no less (an action I am eternally grateful for as you can imagine). Why did she buy it for me? ‘coz I like punk music. Simple as that. Again, I bought this beer based on nothing more than the branding… But I dutifully popped it in the fridge and some days later I tried it and my second beer revaluation occurred. And Punk was a revelation, up until this point I had never taste a beer with such a strong hop profile. So. Much. Taste. Again, Punk has become one of my go to beers and it’s certainly in my top three all-time favourites, possibly my number one.
So those are the beers that shaped my drinking and my brewing, in different ways they’ve influenced everything that came after them (Beer wise that is). It’s been nice looking back at my beer history and I advise you to do the same; where did it start for you? Thank you brothers and sisters for indulging in my ramblings and I will see you soon.
Freud judges those who don’t occasionally gaze into their own navels.