There is something which irrevocably shifts following great beers, especially when you go searching for them and drink them a lot. I drink more bottles at home than pints in the pub. I drink a lot of good beer. I drink some crap beer. What seems to have happened recently is that my expectations have shifted and now I want every beer to be a life changing experience. This is a problem.
You see, amazingly good beers which give you an experience that you’ll remember for a long time are difficult to step back from to return to normal drinking. I’ve had this a few times. A cask-fresh pint of Thornbridge Jaipur from the brewery pub is just one of the best things there is. Following this I wanted every hand-pulled pint to have the same effect on me. It didn’t and that was disheartening. The same happened with Pliny the Elder. I drank the beer and all of a sudden my beer expectations loosened their shackles and took a huge leap forward, laughing back over its shoulder at me. I had to readjust the radar and pull everything back in.
I’ve had some decent pints in the pub recently. They were good but the whole time I was comparing them to some other mythical beer I wanted to be drinking or just another that I know is great. It’s the same with bottles – I open them, I drink them, some leave me unimpressed, leave me wanting more, wanting something else. In my mind I’ve even got to the point where I’m expecting beers to be boring before I even try them – that’s the worst thing.
It’s difficult to shift expectations; I had to do it at a lager tasting I went to in October. My taste-spectrum had to be dramatically narrowed before I started to enjoy the beers for what they were – delicious, refreshing lagers in which the smallest of differences became hugely important (a drier hop finish, a citrus lift, a fuller body).
Beer is always a hopeful search for the good. Maybe it’s just part of life that we want what we haven’t got, maybe I’m just difficult to please, but I want my beer to be better and better every time. I still appreciate beer for what it is, but there’s always a little niggling feeling telling me to try something else, voraciously searching for the next amazing experience. I need to rein it in a bit or I’ll just get disappointed. I need to sit back, open a beer and just drink it.
Has anyone else had this? A need for better and better beers all the time? It’s an expensive habit.
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