What makes a good beer?
Is it the effort brewers put into it? Is it the drinking experience?
Is it the bull testicles?
Maybe not so much the last one.
The list ranges from Wynkoop’s Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout – which I had at the Great American Beer Festival and liked – to Uncommon Brewers’ Bacon Brown Ale (another bacon beer?) and even Flying Dog’s Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout, despite oyster stouts being, well, kind of common compared to bacon and testicle beer.
That list pairs well with the 10 best perceived (national) beers in America, which is comprised of all the usual suspects like Budweiser, Bud Light, Corona, Heineken and Sam Adams, which tops the list.
So sure – when comparing bull testicles to Bud Light, one is going to seem rather strange. But maybe they taste the same to some. (Oh snap! A BMC burn!)
But seriously, folks, what makes a good beer?
There’s so much that can be said about perception and how that influences our decisions of what’s good or bad. When I’m trying a beer for the first time, I always make sure to go through at least a few sips before checking into Untappd or looking up other thoughts on Beer Advocate. I don’t want my original opinion to be biased after reading comments from other drinkers.
I think I know what I like, which certainly helps. IPAs, sours and witbiers always seem to show up in my glass. But that’s never stopped me from trying anything. But do I enjoy beers because of the idea? The fun ingredients? My attachment to a particular brewery?
If my mom always told me I was special, then by extension my taste buds must follow suit, right? The way I like beers is one in 7 billion!
Justin over at Justin’s Brew Review pondered an off-shoot of this topic a while back, concluding that a drinker will always fall into a trap of bias, one way or another. Only natural.
So I suppose it leaves me with this: is a good beer good because of the love and attention put into it? Or is it good simply because we want it to be good, for whatever reason? Certainly the answer lies between, but if you could pick only one, which would it be?
Starting from there, maybe we can find a new appreciation (or at least a new way of thinking) about what makes a good beer.
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac