Monday, 6 April 2015

The Acquired Taste

One thing you often hear about beer when it crops up in conversation is "Oh, when I first tried it, I didn't like it at first. But after a while, I got to like it." But why is this, and why do people persist?

My story on here is well known.  I didn't start drinking beer until I was 24. Generally I was a cheap Chardonnay freak. Beer wasn't to my taste for various reasons.   After a few four packs of Staropramen, I managed to get the taste for it, but it took a while.

It happened later to me than for most men of my generation. I was never there, but my guess is that most are invited out drinking by someone who already "has the taste", and drink and continue to drink because they assume it's what you have to do to Be A Man. And after that, they do it simply because they know it's what you do.

Very few people are of the personality that really "get into" beer. To most, it's a means to an end. It's just something you do to get pissed. It takes real effort to acquire a taste for beers like Imperial IPAs, Saison, strong Stouts and the like. Only someone of the "nerdy" persuasion would get the at far.

In fact, the emergence of such "nerd beers" into mainstream is nothing less than a perfect example of the acceptance of "nerd stuff" that there is these days.

Acquiring the taste for normal beer is one thing. It's more about fitting into the prevailing and, dare I say it, masculine drinking culture. The taste for the "interesting stuff" is quite another. I happen to be that kind of person, as likely are you if you're reading this.

The problem in the beer blogosphere is that it's a self-reinforcing feedback loop. Everyone is drinking and looking out for the same kind of beer, and it's easy to convince yourself that the crafty end of the spectrum is what's important and, more perniciously, what everybody should like.

There's no shame in enjoying what you like, but don't forget it may not be other people's experience.  Ignore the mainstream at your peril.


  1. It's something most beer geeks don't like to consider. They quite like the idea that drinking something not mainstream makes them more discerning and thus tend to mutually agree on that. But why they are drinking it, as opposed to other forms of grog? Nah.

    But why in Britain is a pint in the pub the cultural norm, yet over in France it's a glass of vino in the Bistro? Have the 2 countries evolved different taste buds or is what people drink little more than a cultural norm they are adhering to? Is a pint a defining feature of English masculinity young men feel they must accept lest their mates take the mick for ordering a white wine spritzer?

    When you grow up drinking sugary drinks why would you drink something dry and bitter and like it just because you have reached an age in law that affords you freedoms and responsibility? Why have alcohol companies figured out that brands pushed at the young should be sweet? Why as people get older are they more likely to abandon mainstream beer and drink wine than start on the none mainstream beer? Maybe they have stopped caring what people think and now simply drink what they like.

  2. Why have I not come across this blog before


    1. Thanks. Just here to take the piss and point out the obvious.

  3. Yep, it's culture. Acquired tastes are better than merely animal tastes. Because culture.