I tend to suffer from “OPD” – Over Passion Disorder! When I decide to love something – trust me when I tell you – “I LOVE IT” with passion and I pour my heart into it. This quirky trait can sometimes be associated with obsessive compulsive behavior and my love of Craft Beer may indeed apply. The pure pleasure of sampling a new craft beer is addictive and the rush it fuels drives an intense desire to sample more and more. This is in no way, shape or form about drinking to get high. On the contrary it is about drinking to experience the beautiful complexity, taste, aroma, and vision of craft beer. OMG! I think I am Craft Beer Addict!
A friend asked recently when I had converted from a wine snob to a beer geek. My tweets about my parallel universe as a “beerophile” were posting to my Facebook page and she was not the first person to comment on my transformation. After pondering the question, I decided to write a little about my journey.
I started drinking wine in my mid-twenties when I moved to California. I truly enjoyed the seemingly endless options of fabulous wine available and as my taste developed so did my passion for wine. My palate evolved over the years and I found I was more prone to fine wine than basic grocery store selections. My investment in my habit grew. I loved wine and was enthralled with the complexities of appearance, the nose, the feel and the taste associated with the many types, styles and brands. Wine and of course, the food that compliments it, was a huge part of my social life as the years passed. I loved sharing my wine finds with good friends over dinner at both my home and restaurants. I shudder at the thought of the money I have spent over the years…
While I had always enjoyed beer, I honestly never thought much about what I was drinking. I preferred to drink micro-brewed beer, but was not really conscious of the decisions I made. I just knew that I didn’t care for Coors, Bud or any other watery beer on the market. There was no real passion in my beer selections and I rarely took the time to think about the ingredients going into the beer, much less the business and political implications of my choices. Never had I pondered which beers would best pair with an artisan cheese platter I had assembled for a cocktail party nor had I contemplated a social dinner offering different beer choices with the course I would prepare.
That is until I moved to San Diego in 2003… I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with a young man who founded a craft brewing business in San Diego. A neighbor in my building, GK brought his own beer selections to a party at my loft and even brought his own glassware. I was in no way, shape or form offended by his apparent beer snobbery. On the contrary, I was intrigued by his passion. I recognized there was a lot I could learn from this incredible entrepreneur. Many of my new neighbors in Park Loft were also craft beer fans. With Greg as a generous anchor, there was never a social event in the building (and boy did we have a lot of them!) that didn’t include several of the many choices of beer brewed by Stone. There were many group outings to local craft beer mecca’s like O’Brien’s, The Local, Hamilton’s, and The Whistle Stop. This was the beginning of my craft beer education.
My beer journey has been an interesting one. I am no expert but, I know what I like and I enjoy exploring the seemingly endless of options available to me. I am very fortunate to live in California and have access to a plethora of great craft beer options because of favorable beer distribution laws. In San Diego, local craft breweries are plentiful and they offer an amazing selection of styles. The brewers are a colorful group with personalities as vibrant and interesting as the beers they create.
I am still learning my way around the craft brewing vernacular and there is so much left for me to learn. I look forward to having the confidence to articulate my opinion or describe what I like about the beer I am drinking. As a result of my coming of age in San Diego—I love hops! I make my choices carefully now and there is no doubt that my palate prefers high-quality, craft brewed beer. I cannot drink beer that is bad. No offense to those who like pedestrian, industrial beer…I would rather do without if that is all that is available.
Since I travel rather frequently, I have the pleasure of visiting many great cities where I tend to seek out the finest in local craft beer establishments. I love to write about my experiences and I hope I can share some useful information. There are so many amazing places serving great craft beer and delicious food to pair with it.
Of this I am certain: I am meeting some exceptionally nice people on this journey that are always willing to share their knowledge of brewing and beer. I am thankful to each and every one of you… Cheers!