Back in April I sat in a bar savoring my first taste of the 2013 release of Founders KBS, I thought about our quest for delicious beer. It was a Wednesday night after 10pm, and for an old guy like me with a full time job and a couple of active boys, I would ordinarily be thinking about making my way to bed. However, after a tweet in my timeline and a text message, I found myself at a local beer establishment for just for one beer. It wasn’t just me, there were several of us eager to pay $12.50 for a 12oz bottle.
When word comes that a beer is getting released in our area, we become lead detectives. We talk to witnesses, follow up on rumors, and ask our favorite beer experts “what’s in the back” just to get that one bottle of something special that isn’t generally available. I know several guys who make the pilgrimage to Three Floyds every year. Many trade beer hard-to-find beers online.
Locally, there is a brewery called Hardywood. Eighteen months ago their Gingerbread Stout was our little secret. Now, they have people from miles around camping out for its release. This happens all over this great country, and it’s a beautiful thing, especially given how every city can provide a traveler several unique beer choices they’ll never find back home.
Each of us has gone through this fuss at one time or another. That night I asked myself – is this beer really good or is there something else behind it? Is it the thrill of getting your hands on something many will not have the opportunity to enjoy? Do we trick ourselves into wanting it to be good because we just went through the trouble and expense that any review other than extraordinary would just disappoint us? I’m no psychologist and since I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night, I won’t start today. (Like I said, I went out for only one beer). While there might be some psychological impact, on the whole I don’t think there is much to it. We drink what we like, and there is too much good brew out there to be wasting time drinking hype.
However, there is one exception to this rule. A friend of mine who ran a boutique wine and craft beer store would always tell stories about “vacation beers” enjoyed on some of our favorite sandy destinations. He always cautioned that any drink you have stress-free on a beach without work hanging over your head tastes incredible. He would try to fulfill these requests, but cautioned that if it didn’t taste as good as they remembered, it had more to do with the differing circumstances.
Luckily for me (in this case), I was not on a beach, so my judgment was not necessarily clouded. I sat back and appreciated each long sniff of the KBS’s chocolate and coffee aromas. I slowly sipped this silky, balanced goodness that had a nice, but not overpowering pop of bourdon on the back of the throat. Its not hype or the thrill of the hunt, it’s a quest for experiencing something different and delicious. While that last sip settled into a long dark chocolate finish that I could still taste when I walked out of the bar, I realized why we do this – because beer is damn good, with every beer creating its own experience.
In the comments, tell me about your latest finds or favorite conquests.
Founders KBS (Kentucky Bourbon Stout)
Look - 4.25
Smell - 4.75
Taste - 4.5
Mouthfeel - 4.5
Overall - 4.5