We bid farewell to the classics informing the lagers and pilsners of the world that some of our palates yearn for diversity and lots and lots of hops.
Or maybe it was a hoppy wheat.
It could have been a Double IPA – no, make that a Triple IPA.
With apologies to the Ellen Griswold’s of the beer world, there’s a girl in a red Ferrari a few shelves over.
That’s right, you cocoa/coffee/pepper/vanilla/cinnamon/nutmeg stout.
I’m talking to you, Japanese rice lager aged with sake.
Come here, you green peppercorn/celery seed/cucumber ale.
Let’s just say the word “habanango” together.
Overly hopped? Barrel aged? Fruit infused? Yes, yes and yes, please.
Sorry, but this is no pledge of allegiance to the classics. I’m not longing for a simpler time with simpler beer.
That would contradict what my Binny’s card would tell you.
We’ve become spoiled by all the offerings out there and, as a result, my beer palate yearns for diversity.
There’s just something about a unique beer that tickles the taste buds in a completely different way.
That means picking up a bomber here, a mixed six-pack there, often of beers I’ve not tried before.
And yes, that has led to some drain pours, but more often than not, it’s a fun tasting adventure.
I’d rather explore a blueberry pomegranate wit than enjoy something sessionable. With all the options on Chicago-area shelves, a likeable lager often becomes an afterthought. Sure, I still want drinkability, but I’m just not willing to settle for a placid pilsner. Those will still be my go-to beverages of choice after a summer day working in the yard, but otherwise, I want something memorable.
I’m the guy with the release dates marked on my calendar for Short’s Key Lime Pie; the guy who got excited to hear about Moody Tongue’s culinary approach to brewing; the guy savoring every infused spin-off of 18th Street’s Hunter milk stout. Take me to a beer festival and I’m determined to try the most random concoctions available.
Because, why not?
Beer drinking should be an enjoyable experience and while I’m sure enjoyment can be had by some by remaining loyal to the same brand or particular style, for many it means daring to try something different, too.
So whether it’s a ramen noodle-inspired ale, a thin mint stout or a double IPA aged in rum barrels with pineapple, coconut and lime, I’m all in.
I say break out the French press, roll out the bourbon barrels and let’s have some fun.