Why do people feel uncomfortable admitting to liking (or disliking) certain beers? And which beers do you have a secret soft spot for?
We were prompted to ponder this subject by this Tweet from Rhys Daltrey:
As it happens, we too have more time for certain Badger beers than you might expect. They were among the earliest ales we really got to know at Hall & Woodhouse outposts in London, as well as during a series of holidays in Dorset and around. We don’t talk about them much these days because the bottles don’t excite us – they seem to taste particularly stewed even by the standards of supermarket ales – and we don’t get much chance to drink the cask incarnations, but we’re certainly not embarrassed to mention them.
Perhaps it’s a result of having blogged about beer for 9.99999 years but we’re not much ashamed to admit to liking, or disliking anything. We’ve paid our dues and if we say we do or don’t like a beer, it’s an honest reaction. (Which is not to say it might not be stupid, misinformed or confused – that’s a whole separate issue.)
Even now, though, we know we’ll draw a bit of fire if we express a liking for, or even tolerance of, certain beers. That’s why we so often resort to the language of extreme subjectivity, such as ‘soft spot’ above – like Rhys, we couch it almost as a failing on our part.
Another approach is to go on the offensive: unlike you sheeple, I controversially like Budweiser/Bass/Special Brew, and if you’ve got a problem with that, you can see me outside in the car park. It’s the same thing though, really – an acknowledgement that The Community won’t approve.
Be Honest, Fess Up
What we’d like to see, more generally, is people stating plainly what they like, and what they don’t. There’s no wrong or right answer, and you don’t need special expertise or training to know whether a beer tastes good to you, right now. (Even if down the line you might be baffled by your own judgement.)
People holding back from expressing an honest view skews the whole conversation to a handful of consensus breweries and beers.
And, of course, for that to happen, others need to respect the preferences of others. (Last year, someone told us they were disappointed in us for naming Duvel as a great Belgian beer. Weird, right?)
With all that in mind, let’s have an amnesty: which beers do you have a secret crush on that you don’t want the kids at school to know about?
And you can also tell us which beers you know you ‘ought’ to like but don’t, although we actually had a pretty good round-out on a related topic a couple of months back.
Here are some beers we feel slightly naughty liking – but nonetheless publicly admitted to liking – in recent months, to get the ball rolling: Guinness (Bailey, every now and then); Hoegaarden (not what it used to be, apparently); Bass (NWIUTB); Marston’s Pedigree (NWIUTB); LIDL’s own-brand Bière de Garde; Ringwood Forty-Niner (cask, at The Farmer’s).