When I was in high school – like so many others – I drank really bad beer at parties. Warm Keystone, Natural or any other interchangeable brand that tastes like toilet water. I did not care for it one bit.
But I soon had a friend who turned 21 and vowed to change the way I looked at beer. The first brew we shared was a Hoegaarden. I never knew beer could taste good. How novel.
I recently made a confession to my wife, who has put up with my obsession with beer as best as someone who isn’t enthusiastic about the stuff can be. On a flight home to New York from North Carolina in 2008 I had two items with me to ponder and pass the time with – an engagement ring in my coat pocket and a November 2008 issue of the New Yorker with a feature on Sam Calagione and Dogfish Head.
Surprises abound. The Missus didn’t know I was going to propose to her and I didn’t know that reading that New Yorker would change my life. I had been a craft beer fan for some time, but until I read that article, I never knew what brewers could do with beer. I just knew that for a few extra bucks, my time throwing down some cold ones wouldn’t be a cringe-worthy experience.
As others have noted for years, Dogfish’s devotion for pushing the boundaries of what beer could be opened my eyes. This is one of the many lines from that piece that threw me for a loop:
Carlos took the pistol, swivelled it toward the tree, and fired a single shot from five feet away. The bullet struck with a dull thud, then fell harmlessly to the ground.
Sam Calagione was going to use this tree’s wood to create a beer.
On that night in November, I found two of my greatest passions – a lifetime to spend with my wife and an unwavering curiosity toward beer that sometimes borders on annoying. Much like how the relationship between my wife and I will constantly grow and evolve over time, so has my love and understanding of beer. That’s why I write this blog. As Steven D. Hales puts it in Beer and Philosophy: “Beer drives the human condition, even if the human is in no condition to drive.”
Curious to follow me down the rabbit hole? Hit the jump.