The Excellent and Unmemorable Beer In A Sea of Good Craft Beer

Michael Donato, November 03, 2014

I drink a lot of different beers. I’ve gotten better about picking up old favorites, but I still err on the side of “Oh, I haven’t had that before!” when shopping for beer. You can find a lot of really good beer this way.

You can also forget about a lot of good beer this way. Beers that you thoroughly enjoy, and yet barely remember. Perhaps this is the pinnacle of the so-called craft beer bubble. Most people don’t expend the thought and effort towards craft beer that I do, and being able to amble into a beer store and walk out with any number of things that are pretty good is awesome. I’ve recently forgotten that I drank two delicious beers.

The first was Bell’s Two Hearted Ale (10.54 BAR, 124 Style+). Bell’s is only recently available in the New York area, so I only got around to grabbing a 4-pack of Two Hearted a couple of weeks ago, knowing it’s popular and figuring I could send two to my friend in California who specifically requested Bells. I was excited to try it for the first time, so after a couple of household errands, I popped open a can and sat back to enjoy it. It was delicious and well-balanced, and I thoroughly enjoyed it and mentally added it to my ever-growing list of great beers to order when I’m undecided because I know it’s great.

I then went to check it into Untappd, only to discover a little red 1 under the ‘You’ heading of the beer’s stats, indicating I’d already had it. Pondering if this was a mistake, if I checked in before a server returned from the bar and indicted they were tapped out, I clicked the red one to see my check-in. I’d had it nearly three years ago, at a burger joint in downtown Philly, while visiting the very same friend I had bought the beer the second time to send to. I gave it 5-stars both time, and when I think back, I do remember being excited to have it that first time since Philly was the closest I could get it, but I had more important things on my mind at the time and I never checked the beer off my internal checklist.

The second beer I forgot recently was Singlecut Beersmith’s Dean Pacific NW Mahogany Brown Ale (2.59, 118). I know I enjoyed the brewery when I’d visited, so when I saw two of their beers on tap I got a growler of the Dean Pacific and went on my merry way. I poured it that night, and throughly enjoyed it. It’s a hoppy brown ale with some caramel or maple sweetness.

I logged into Untappd to check-in, only to realize again that I’d already had this one. I was a little disappointed because I was torn between that and the Imperial IPA and ultimately settled on the brown being a better ‘drink a whole 25oz growler before it goes flat’ beer, but the beer was delicious so I wasn’t that upset. I have no good excuse for this one, as the first time I had it was right when Singlecut opened and I went to the brewery specifically to taste, and even write about on a blog prior to BeerGraphs,  their initial four beers. That I liked the Dean Pacific then was a driving factor in my decision to get a growler and fill it with Dean Pacific now. Again I was consistent, rating it 4.5 stars both times. 

So what’s this mean? That’s a tough question. I think there’s something to be said for the role beer plays in our life. That beer can be an amazing complement to an afternoon with friends or simply an enjoyable occasion on it’s own is leaps and bounds better than how it used to be. That there are so many delicious beers that having one becomes the norm and not a stand-out experience speaks volumes about the health of the industry. We no longer have to hunt for great beer or make special trips to find something worth drinking, because often it’s right there next to our burger. 

Thanks to user Bryce T on Untappd for the header image.

Michael can be found on Twitter and Untappd trying to remember what he drank last night.