There are things in this world that some people love but are totally lost on me. In many cases, I’m totally okay with it. I don’t need to watch Modern Family, or read The Hunger Games books, or drink Kombucha tea to feel like I’m living a full life.
In other cases, it kind of bums me out. I want to connect with Keith Richards’ autobiography, and truly enjoy sashimi, and be able to get into March Madness, but there’s something missing. There’s no spark, no real connection, no a-ha moment where you know you’ve fallen in love.
This is true in the craft beer world as well. There are breweries that many people adore or that have been pioneering forces in the craft beer world that are lost on me It’s not for lack of trying on my part, it’s just that their beers don’t curl my toes; I just can’t fall in love with them. Here are five breweries I want to love, but something is stopping me:
Allagash: People rave about their beers and I’ve tried many of them, but I always kind of go “meh” and think they’re too expensive. I think their beers are lovely, but perhaps they are too delicate for me to connect with. That combined with the fact that they’re pricey adds up to it being a long time since I’ve bothered to pick one up.
New Belgium: The iconoclast in me refuses to try Fat Tire because of its ubiquitous popularity, and New Belgium’s sour offerings are totally lost on me. I poured a La Folie down the drain after trying several times to find a way to enjoy it. That never happened. Now I look the other way when I see their stuff on the shelf.
Sierra Nevada: I think I got into craft beer too late to truly appreciate what Sierra Nevada does. Many years ago they were making mind blowing beers compared to what else was out there, but I was too busy drinking Bass Ale to notice. By the time I got into craft beer, many other breweries had caught up to Sierra and were offering beers with more creativity and more punch. I’ve tried and enjoyed the Jack & Ken / Fritz & Ken stuff, but the only Sierra Nevada you’ll find in my beer fridge these days is five 12oz. bottles of 2010 Tumbler that I couldn’t bring myself to drink or discard.
Anchor Brewing: Speaking of Fritz, Mr. Maytag started pumping life into this wonder out in San Francisco way back in 1965, and by 1971 he was bottling five different beers, including a porter and a barleywine. That was 40 years ago! Maytag pioneered much of what we take for granted today as craft beer fans, but that doesn’t mean I can get into his beers. I’ve tried Anchor Steam and their Holiday Ale and I think I’ve had the Porter, and in every case I found it hard to get through the six pack. I love the idea of Anchor, but their beers? No so much.
Lagunitas: This is a weird one, because I’ve enjoyed many of the beers I’ve had from these rebels, but I find something mildly repellent about the brand. It might be that many of their beers are hop-forward (which I don’t always prefer) or that I started getting into them just as they were having QC issues and found that a lot of their stuff tasted like bubblegum. Anyway, I’ve had some enjoyable beers from these guys, but there’s something that stops me from making them a go-to brewery.
In all these above cases, it’s clearly me that has the problem, not the brewers. Each has been wildly successful in their own way, and that’s because many, many people love them to bits. But I can’t, even if I want to.
At least for now. My recent experience with the AMC hit Breaking Bad gives me hope. I have heard how great it is for years, but I couldn’t find the time or the will to get into it. I even watched the first episode several months ago, but failed to fall in love. But there was something about the premise of the show that I found compelling, so I doubled back and decided to watch the first four episodes on a flight to California. I totally fell in love with Walter White during this mini-marathon and have now gobbled up the first three seasons. I’m hoping the same holds true for the breweries above, because the only thing that’s stopping me from loving them is me.