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  1. #1
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    The progression of Taste

    I have noticed a bit of a common progression with beer drinkers. I have introduced many friends to the wide world of craft, and also made and met many friends during thier "early stages" of craft love. As a result the common progression I see in a persons personal taste is the following:

    The starting point: Non-Craft Pilsners/Lagers (Bud, BL, Coors, CL, etc...)
    Step 1: Hefeweizen/Wheat beers (sweet, light, Fruity)
    Step 2: Browns/Reds/Ambers/Bocks (not to malty, and more bitter than wheat's)
    Step 3: Stouts/Porters (Dark, Malty)
    Step 4: Spiced and Seasonal (Pumpkin, Winter, etc..)
    Step 5: Belgian Beers (non-sour, but double tripple and quads)
    Step 6: Imperial Stouts and Strong Ales (Very Malty, Dark, Alcohaulic, a little bitter)
    Step 7: Pale Ale (not IPA, somewhat bitter, but not overpowering)
    Step 8: IPA's (I would also add Barley wines into this one)
    Step 9: The quest for ridiculously bitter (IBU hunters)
    Step 10: Barrel aged dark's (Non-sour, bourbon, whiskey, wine, oak, etc...)
    Step 11: Sours and Wild Ale's
    Step 12: Oddballs and Rarities
    Step 13: Mutual appreciation of all styles (Including well done Pilsners/Lagers)

    Now I am not saying everyone follows this path, in fact, I can't think of one person that has followed this step by step exactly. I do think that this is a relatively good representation of how a person's taste develops. One guy may completely skip the IPA stage, or maybe have several out of order, but I think generally the ones near the top, middle and end the list are pretty representative of how a person develops their taste.

    Thoughts?

    Edit: Maybe here is a more generalized progression
    Step 1: Sweet, Mild, drinkable
    Step 2: Malty or Bitter
    Step 3: Very Malty or Very Bitter
    Step 4: Inverse of Step 2 (if it was malty, then this step is bitter)
    Step 5: Inverse of Step 3
    Step 6: Exotic (barrel aged, sour, wild, etc...)
    Last edited by Guerdonian; 12-20-2012 at 01:52 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Solid analysis. I think there's a dual-path thing going on for most drinkers though after step 2. Step 3 is often towards Pale Ales.

    Lots of memories for me in my development...great topic

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Solid analysis. I think there's a dual-path thing going on for most drinkers though after step 2. Step 3 is often towards Pale Ales.

    Lots of memories for me in my development...great topic
    True True, I actually almost put the progression of Bitter tasting beers before Malty beers. Personally I did Malty before Bitter, But i have seen many love Bitter before getting into Malty. I have not however seen many get into Sour prior to loving Bitter or Malty.
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    The only reason I did not get into Sours earlier in my beer taste progression was because I simply did not know anything about them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    The only reason I did not get into Sours earlier in my beer taste progression was because I simply did not know anything about them.
    True point, I only really got into sours about 4 years ago when they finally became more available (that and my 45min proximity to Russian River). I think their increase in availability may help them be an earlier discovery.

    I must however say that I rarely bust out a sour when i know someone is not into strong flavor profile beers. For example if we have guests over, and I am going to pull something out of the cellar to share, I usually do a quick evaluation prior. Many times if i discover they don't like IPA's (Extra Bitter) or Imperial Stouts (Extra Malty) they also tend to not like Sour's. Seems that those who do not like heavy/bold flavor beers, don't like any of them, regardless of style. Once again, not always the case, but often enough for me to shy away and reach for a quad or tripple instead.
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    Great topic Guerdonian!

    Can we flow chart this? I think some of it has to do with a person's age too and the era they started drinking. For me, a lot of these style weren't really commercially available when I started drinking so it was a little different. Overall though I agree, especially with the final step which is why I get maddened by people who think IPA's are the only beers that exist/matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post

    I must however say that I rarely bust out a sour when i know someone is not into strong flavor profile beers. For example if we have guests over, and I am going to pull something out of the cellar to share, I usually do a quick evaluation prior.
    An interesting thing I've noticed recently is that a few people that I would not expect, females specifically, have been really into "sours". I use quotation marks since it's a pretty broad classification.

    A prime example was over the summer we ran into some friends and friends of friends at Toronado in San Diego. Someone had ordered a Bear Republic Tartare (Bracingly Sour Berlinerweiss) not knowing what it was. Everybody thought it was horrendous (besides me) and wanted to send it back and then my buddies wife who has probably never had a Berliner or Sour before takes a sip and loves it! She's a pretty awesome girl already but this made her even awesomer in my book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    Great topic Guerdonian!

    Can we flow chart this? I think some of it has to do with a person's age too and the era they started drinking. For me, a lot of these style weren't really commercially available when I started drinking so it was a little different. Overall though I agree, especially with the final step which is why I get maddened by people who think IPA's are the only beers that exist/matter.
    The Hop Heads are a unique crowd. I can appreciate there furver for all things bitter, but I can not agree more about the blindly devoted. Just like any individual that I meet, that is so over the top zealous about one specific thing to the point of not being able to hold a conversation or even consider your point of view makes me want to run away from them as quickly as possible. Whenever I am at a beer bar and hear phrases like "whats the IBU on this" or "Man this IPA is Weak!" I can't help but smirk a little
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    An interesting thing I've noticed recently is that a few people that I would not expect, females specifically, have been really into "sours". I use quotation marks since it's a pretty broad classification.

    A prime example was over the summer we ran into some friends and friends of friends at Toronado in San Diego. Someone had ordered a Bear Republic Tartare (Bracingly Sour Berlinerweiss) not knowing what it was. Everybody thought it was horrendous (besides me) and wanted to send it back and then my buddies wife who has probably never had a Berliner or Sour before takes a sip and loves it! She's a pretty awesome girl already but this made her even awesomer in my book.
    Too true!! In fact for those who are new to beer who actually taste Sours, if its a couple I give it a much higher likelihood that the woman will like it over the man. Opposite goes with IPA's usually the dude's like those prior to the ladies.

    Another interesting note about sours is for some reason it seems that the wine lovers almost always love a well balanced sour beer (not a 100% pucker power brett beer, those take some conditioning). I always find this particularly ironic as Brett will completely ruin a winery, and a wine producer will act like you just insulted his mother if you talk about how much you love the tasty critter.
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    Cool post. Here's my less sophisticated experience. Early on, I liked the sweeter stuff...sometimes bordering on cloying. Browns and ales. Then I went to stouts and porters...still my fave. Then I had a hate, hate relationship with IPA and hoppy stuff. But my palate learned. Now I drink a lot of IPA. Weirdly, I like the sweeter IPA's, and the drier stouts and porters. Forgive my primitive descriptions.

    Most the stuff lower on your list, I just can't afford or justify spending on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestatevirgin View Post
    Cool post. Here's my less sophisticated experience. Early on, I liked the sweeter stuff...sometimes bordering on cloying. Browns and ales. Then I went to stouts and porters...still my fave. Then I had a hate, hate relationship with IPA and hoppy stuff. But my palate learned. Now I drink a lot of IPA. Weirdly, I like the sweeter IPA's, and the drier stouts and porters. Forgive my primitive descriptions.

    Most the stuff lower on your list, I just can't afford or justify spending on.
    I edited the original post. I think that i was a bit over-specific, and this may be a better class of progression:

    Step 1: Sweet, Mild, drinkable
    Step 2: Malty or Bitter
    Step 3: Very Malty or Very Bitter
    Step 4: Inverse of Step 2 (if it was malty, then this step is bitter)
    Step 5: Inverse of Step 3
    Step 6: Exotic (barrel aged, sour, wild, etc...)

    Sounds like you are getting into the exotic stuff, but the ol wallet is your hold-back. Totally understandable, it gets pricey the deeper you get.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    Too true!! In fact for those who are new to beer who actually taste Sours, if its a couple I give it a much higher likelihood that the woman will like it over the man. Opposite goes with IPA's usually the dude's like those prior to the ladies.

    Another interesting note about sours is for some reason it seems that the wine lovers almost always love a well balanced sour beer (not a 100% pucker power brett beer, those take some conditioning). I always find this particularly ironic as Brett will completely ruin a winery, and a wine producer will act like you just insulted his mother if you talk about how much you love the tasty critter.
    I think the things that are prevalent in great wines and in great "Sour" beers (maybe more so than other beer styles) are things like nuance and complexity. You can get so many different flavors from Sour or Wild beers that to classify all of them under one label doesn't even really make sense. They are certainly the style (or whatever you call it) that I currently find most interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    Too true!! In fact for those who are new to beer who actually taste Sours, if its a couple I give it a much higher likelihood that the woman will like it over the man. Opposite goes with IPA's usually the dude's like those prior to the ladies.

    Another interesting note about sours is for some reason it seems that the wine lovers almost always love a well balanced sour beer (not a 100% pucker power brett beer, those take some conditioning). I always find this particularly ironic as Brett will completely ruin a winery, and a wine producer will act like you just insulted his mother if you talk about how much you love the tasty critter.
    My wife is kinda weird. She loves IPA's, really loves borderline cloying Belgian Tripels/Dubels and will enjoy beers that are more "tart" than "sour" but will not touch anything remotely roasty ie. Stotus and Porters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    I edited the original post. I think that i was a bit over-specific, and this may be a better class of progression:

    Step 1: Sweet, Mild, drinkable
    Step 2: Malty or Bitter
    Step 3: Very Malty or Very Bitter
    Step 4: Inverse of Step 2 (if it was malty, then this step is bitter)
    Step 5: Inverse of Step 3
    Step 6: Exotic (barrel aged, sour, wild, etc...)

    Sounds like you are getting into the exotic stuff, but the ol wallet is your hold-back. Totally understandable, it gets pricey the deeper you get.
    I'd like to add that since my palate has adapted to IPA's I really dislike cloying beers. I've tried some of the more popular doubles and triples and no thanks. So I'm wondering how many others tend to gravitate to one extreme or the other?

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    Where do Saison's fit on this progression? I feel like they are the one style that 90% of beer drinkers can/should enjoy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestatevirgin View Post
    I'd like to add that since my palate has adapted to IPA's I really dislike cloying beers. I've tried some of the more popular doubles and triples and no thanks. So I'm wondering how many others tend to gravitate to one extreme or the other?
    When I leave one style preference and move to another, I tend to still enjoy the styles I like prior, but just not as much. For example when I went from pale ales to the quest of all things bitter, I still liked Pale Ales, just not as much as I did when that was most of what I drank, at which time I still didn't like bourbon stouts. That make any sense? I wasn't a fan of the beers my pallet wasn't ready for, but the beers prior I still enjoyed. Maybe as my tongue became more abused/calloused/hardy it was searching for the next zinger it could handle, still enjoying the past but looking for the next thrill.

    Nowadays maybe I am in more of a beer nirvana, where i go through mini-phases of drinking particular styles, but have a good appreciation for them all. There are those I dislike (pumpkin, and anything with a lot of DMS (cooked corn flavor) like Kolsch or some Pilsners) which in your case may be "cloying beers" but that may be more of a personal preference thing, not because they are bad beer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    Where do Saison's fit on this progression? I feel like they are the one style that 90% of beer drinkers can/should enjoy.
    Hmmmm good point, I think they would be in the wheat/Heff category, or in my more simplified revised list, "level 1". But I could also see the argument that they belong in the Belgian category, and in some rare (but enjoyable cases) for the extreme saison's that border on wild ale's the Sour category. Those are a tough one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    Hmmmm good point, I think they would be in the wheat/Heff category, or in my more simplified revised list, "level 1". But I could also see the argument that they belong in the Belgian category, and in some rare (but enjoyable cases) for the extreme saison's that border on wild ale's the Sour category. Those are a tough one.
    They are very versatile. They can be a great entry level or gateway beer but at the same time they can be very nuanced and complex. They are usually neither hoppy/bitter nor malty/sweet.
    Last edited by Carl Hungus; 12-21-2012 at 01:08 PM.

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    Cool topic. I think your 6 step program looks similar to my own progression. Now that I have completed the program I often revisit all of the steps, albeit some more than others.

    My beer snob buddies(probably a term used in poor form, but whateva) have had conversations about where we started and where we are now. We all have our own standby styles and will partake in some of the new and/or special creations that come out, but we all really look forward to brews that are outside the norm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    An interesting thing I've noticed recently is that a few people that I would not expect, females specifically, have been really into "sours". I use quotation marks since it's a pretty broad classification.

    A prime example was over the summer we ran into some friends and friends of friends at Toronado in San Diego. Someone had ordered a Bear Republic Tartare (Bracingly Sour Berlinerweiss) not knowing what it was. Everybody thought it was horrendous (besides me) and wanted to send it back and then my buddies wife who has probably never had a Berliner or Sour before takes a sip and loves it! She's a pretty awesome girl already but this made her even awesomer in my book.
    Have you tried the Dissident from Deschutes? If you like sour check it out....not for me but for those that like that type of beer it should knock you over.

    I agree with your beer taste preference evolution though I started with Downtown Brown and went darker. I can't drink the light stuff just tastes so bland....but willing to part take for the stoke....
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-FXR View Post
    Have you tried the Dissident from Deschutes? If you like sour check it out....not for me but for those that like that type of beer it should knock you over.

    I agree with your beer taste preference evolution though I started with Downtown Brown and went darker. I can't drink the light stuff just tastes so bland....but willing to part take for the stoke....
    Dissident was virtually impossible to get around these parts this year. It already came and went.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    Dissident was virtually impossible to get around these parts this year. It already came and went.
    When it comes out, and your unable to find some I could pick some up for ya bro...wait can't use that term... Usually can get a bottle or two.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    There are those I dislike (pumpkin, and anything with a lot of DMS (cooked corn flavor) like Kolsch or some Pilsners) which in your case may be "cloying beers" but that may be more of a personal preference thing, not because they are bad beer.
    Most of the time I'm ok with Kolsch or Pilsner. I don't go for them, but I won't turn one down. I use the term "cloying" in its most literal sense, as in sweet to the point of too rich. Beers that taste like liquid sugar or carmel. Not hints of those flavors, mind you, but the over-the-top versions that some people like so much. A recent example for me, and my palate, was the Double Bastard. But a lot of holiday ales get too sweet for my tastes. So yeah, it's just preference, I think.

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    I've been stuck on step 9 for a while But unfortunately living in Utah has put a bit of a damper on my quest....

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    I have definitely gone through all 13 steps, though not necessarily in that exact order. IPA's came nearly last for me.

    I (along with most true beer fans, I imagine) tend to pay more attention to the brewer than the type of beer. Certain breweries just work magic, and I like everything (or nearly everything) they put out - from IPA's to stouts. For instance, locally I can count on Parallel 49 beers to be good, no matter what the particular batch.

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    I think im happily stuck between

    steps 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 13. Oh and still like budweiser and coors. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by X-FXR View Post
    When it comes out, and your unable to find some I could pick some up for ya bro...wait can't use that term... Usually can get a bottle or two.
    It already came out this year. And sold out of most places pretty quickly. If you're in the Bay Area, chances are it's gone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    Dissident was virtually impossible to get around these parts this year. It already came and went.
    If you want some, let me know - it's still for sale up in Bend and I can have my brother pick some up.

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    Here was my progression:

    1. IPAs
    2. Sours
    3. Walez

    Just can't kick this taste for rare I have developed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    It already came out this year. And sold out of most places pretty quickly. If you're in the Bay Area, chances are it's gone.

    This is the down side of the craft beer explosion. Beers like The Dissident and The Abyss used to sit on shelves around my neck of the woods for months. Now, it's like a freaking sprint to grab these beers as soon as they come in. I've seen this phenomenon with 5-10 beers here in the past year. Stone's "Enjoy By" and The Abyss being two of the latest. I'm not even sure if our county saw The Dissident honestly. This kinda thing is probably common place in bigger cities like SF but it's kinda of a new phenomenon for me and it's somewhat annoying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Just can't kick this taste for rare I have developed.

    I hear that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    This is the down side of the craft beer explosion. Beers like The Dissident and The Abyss used to sit on shelves around my neck of the woods for months. Now, it's like a freaking sprint to grab these beers as soon as they come in. I've seen this phenomenon with 5-10 beers here in the past year. Stone's "Enjoy By" and The Abyss being two of the latest. I'm not even sure if our county saw The Dissident honestly. This kinda thing is probably common place in bigger cities like SF but it's kinda of a new phenomenon for me and it's somewhat annoying.
    So true, there was actually an almost-fist-fight over the 36 cases of Westervalertien that we got here in Fort Collins. To be honest this was the Media's fault, as they did a segment on the local news about how "rare" it was, and as a result a large group showed up for a very limited amount of beer. I remember the days when hardly anyone knew what Pliny the Elder was.

    Do you think rarity has an effect on your pallet? I would like to think I am non-biased enough for it not to have much of an impact, but deep down I know that if I spend $28 on a bottle, the expectations are high, and if its a good beer, it then becomes a really good beer by default.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    Do you think rarity has an effect on your pallet? I would like to think I am non-biased enough for it not to have much of an impact, but deep down I know that if I spend $28 on a bottle, the expectations are high, and if its a good beer, it then becomes a really good beer by default.
    It did for me at first. Now I have no problem saying that certain rare beers aren't as good as I had expected, and are seriously not worth the going rate or asking price in trades.

    The more beer you drink, the more you realize that most of the "hype" is unwarranted and is usually propagated by people who haven't tried enough beer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    The more beer you drink, the more you realize that most of the "hype" is unwarranted and is usually propagated by people who haven't tried enough beer.
    I agree, though if given the opportunity to get something rare, I will still get like a little school girl at a candy store.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    I agree, though if given the opportunity to get something rare, I will still get like a little school girl at a candy store.
    Hey, you can't realize it until you try it, right? And the goal of any true beer geek is to try everything.

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    I like to try beer, but I'm not going to pay $28 for a bottle. $11.99 for a 22 OZ is pushing it, but I relent as my taste buds demand it and my psyche says that I must. I've had expensive beers that were ok.

    The more I drink I realize I need to buy more... lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    It did for me at first. Now I have no problem saying that certain rare beers aren't as good as I had expected, and are seriously not worth the going rate or asking price in trades.

    The more beer you drink, the more you realize that most of the "hype" is unwarranted and is usually propagated by people who haven't tried enough beer.
    My favorites are local and between $7 and $9 a gallon. I can't imagine paying more. I think ones palate for beer does evolve somewhat. but I think one usually is partial to their first love. For me that is really full bodied beers, either stouts or lagers. As my palate has matured, I can enjoy other beers, but I still prefer the big ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by X-FXR View Post
    I like to try beer, but I'm not going to pay $28 for a bottle. $11.99 for a 22 OZ is pushing it, but I relent as my taste buds demand it and my psyche says that I must. I've had expensive beers that were ok.

    The more I drink I realize I need to buy more... lol
    I paid $28.00 per bottle for Barrel Aged Speedway Stout this year, I then traded one with JFrauff because you cannot get them on the east coast, and I shared my other one with 5 other people during a beer share evening. It was worth the price. I don't think I would ever pay that much for something that was not barrel aged.

    Being a fan of Scotch I understand how much money it costs to store any booze for a period of time before bottling and selling it. To me it is worth the amazing complexities that come from the oak and the booze that inhabited that oak before the beer did.


    Of course I once bought a 12oz bottle of Tactical Nuclear Penguin from Brew Dog, and had it shipped directly from Scotland to my house.

    We all have to have our hobbies I guess, I just like that I can drink mine.

    I think we are venturing off topic now.....
    Ride Bikes, Drink Craft Beer, Repeat.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    I paid $28.00 per bottle for Barrel Aged Speedway Stout this year, I then traded one with JFrauff because you cannot get them on the east coast, and I shared my other one with 5 other people during a beer share evening. It was worth the price. I don't think I would ever pay that much for something that was not barrel aged.

    Being a fan of Scotch I understand how much money it costs to store any booze for a period of time before bottling and selling it. To me it is worth the amazing complexities that come from the oak and the booze that inhabited that oak before the beer did.


    Of course I once bought a 12oz bottle of Tactical Nuclear Penguin from Brew Dog, and had it shipped directly from Scotland to my house.

    We all have to have our hobbies I guess, I just like that I can drink mine.

    I think we are venturing off topic now.....
    Have no problem spending $$$ on beer I know is good... but when I know there is plenty less expensive just hard to part with the dough for it.

    I am progressing to bourbon tonight....
    Quote Originally Posted by k1creeker View Post
    "yeah, she's fat, but you'd take her for a ride."

  39. #39
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    I started with IPA's...oddly enough. I had already gone through a progression in wine to liking the bolder, darker, drier stuff so bold flavors in my beer weren't offensive to start with.

    From there, I wanted to try everything but I didn't have a lot available to me. So I got what I could when I could. I have wanted to try some sours for some time but have not had access to anything good. I did learn about barrel aged beers recently and have a number of local brews to choose from. I have been all over the list.

    My wife is an odd one. Started out at step 1, and skipped all the way to the end. Has not liked a single IPA she has tried, or much of anything that's very dark or bitter. But she loves bourbon barrel aged beers.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post

    I think we are venturing off topic now.....
    Nope. I think sharing whales might be step#14.

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