I read an article recently from Mr. Martyn Cornell who thinks that if you have a favorite style, you don’t like beer. Here’s the original article, and please go read it before you finish this one: http://zythophile.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/in-praise-of-brown-beer/ Is Mr. Cornell wrong? I certainly think so, but I wonder if I’m misunderstanding his point, because the commenters on the post seem to be talking about nothing but English bitter and their dislike of the west coast style of beers. However, here’s why having a favorite style of beer is no problem at all.
My favorite style of beer is what is commonly called a scotch ale. It’s generally a rich, malty, relatively high gravity (though it does not have to be) ale brewed with very few hops, and those are primarily light, aromatic varieties. Whatever it is in my personality or tastes that causes me to have a particular fondness for this style, I cannot deny that it hits the spot almost any time I am privileged to have one. It’s like scratching the itch in the center of my back, only it scratches one I didn’t know I had. It’s that first sip of water on a hot day when I didn’t realize just how thirsty I was. It’s easily my favorite style.
So I don’t like beer? I scoff. I love beer. I love a hefeweizen, with or without a wedge of citrus. I love Pliny the Elder. I love a refreshing Saison. Oh man, I love a rich, dark stout. Lodi Beer Company’s Plowshare porter? Man, what I wouldn’t do for one right now. I get excited about trying a new beer. I have driven 2 hours or more just to try a fantastic beer I couldn’t find in stores. I drove 7-8 hours just to get to Stone Brewing Co. to try beers I couldn’t get up north. I don’t like beer? Ridiculous! What do I have in my fridge right now? Bison’s Organic Chocolate Stout, Buffalo Bill’s Blueberry Oatmeal Stout, a Sam Adams Boston Lager, and a bottle each of Lagunitas Lil’ Sumpin’ Sumpin’ and Lil’ Sumpin’ Wild (for a comparison taste I’m planning). Not a Scotch Ale in the bunch.
So what is it about having a favorite beer style that indicates I don’t like beer? To me, having a favorite beer style doesn’t mean I won’t try something new if it’s available. It doesn’t mean that I drink nothing but Scotch Ales. It doesn’t mean that I buy them by the 6 pack on a weekly basis. What does it mean, then? It means that if I was stranded on a desert island and told I couldn’t have anything but a single style of beer with me, it’d be Scotch Ale. It means that I’m comfortable with it. It’s a flavor profile that I love. It’s comfortable. It’s like coming home from vacation and sleeping in my bed again.
So what about that means I don’t like beer? A ridiculous notion! I’m here to tell you that having a favorite style is not a problem, as long as you don’t pass up the opportunity to try something new. As long as you don’t drink that style to the exclusion of everything else. You can enjoy a favorite style and still love beer.
Now on a different topic, I really want to brew an English Bitter. 3-4% abv, and everything a bitter should be. I’m ON it!