Friday, May 02, 2008

My First "Session"

So I consider myself a beer geek/nerd/whatever. I am the person who brings "good beer" to the party & orders draft or cask ales when everyone else is pounding Buds. I don't, however, post that much about it. If you click on the label for "beer" at the bottom of this post, you'll get maybe four or five posts.

On the other hand, though, I happily consume the daily or weekly posts of a number of beer bloggers. Check out my "beer blogs" links in the sidebar to explore some yourself. And many of them participate in something called The Session. In essence, a different topic is chosen for each month, someone agrees to "host" (i.e. be a repository for links to all the posts), and whoever wants to posts about the topic.

This month, Boak & Bailey are hosting the Session. Here is the question/topic:

"We’d like you to write about the moment when you saw the light. At what point did you realise you were a beer lover/geek/enthusiast? What beer(s) triggered the conversion? Did someone help you along your way, or did you come to it yourself?

In short; how did you get into good beer?

If you can talk about a specific beer, so much the better — it would be good to see if there are any trends."

I never liked beer as a teenager. Even though my dad did some homebrewing, I seemed to always end up drinking warm canned Bud Light out of someone's backpack at a house party. Blech! No wonder I thought I didn't like beer.

Around the time I was 17, that started to change. My family's summer house is on Prince Edward Island, Canada. The drinking age there is 19 & many of my friends were/are two years older than me. So in my 17th summer, we drank a fair amount. ;) I started the summer drinking what I called "chick beer:" Mike's Hard Lemonade, Sublimes, and occasionally wine coolers. However, one night I tried a friend's Schooner. Now, I know Schooner is considered piss water by most Canadian beer drinkers. However, it was not Bud Light & that seemed to make all the difference for me.

Two years later, I started college at a small liberal arts school in New Hampshire. Due to its location & liberal politics, a lot of neo-hippies from Vermont attended my school & I became friends with them. These guys bought kegs of Long Trail Ale. Kegs! Of Long Trail! I realized what I had been missing in my beer - flavor. :) I moved from Long Trail to my next love, Sam Adams White Ale. I sprang for 6-packs of White Ale when it was out & toted them along to drunken college parties.

Two years after that, I spent a semester as a visiting student at the University of Edinburgh. The beer choices were astounding! While I didn't take enough advantage of them (far too much cider on far too many nights), I had caught the bug. I think it was Caledonian 80/- that really did it. Again, I know Callie 80/- isn't real ale or even the most creative or respected of Scottish ales. However, I loved the color, the flavor, and the way the pint glass felt in my hand. ;)

This was a fun post to write. I've told the "warm canned Bud Light" story to others before, explaining my interest in good beer. However, I hadn't really thought about the other components of my evolution from beer hater to quality beer lover. As I sit here with my Shipyard Blue Fin Stout, I'm glad I decided to throw my hand in.

You can also check out more "Session" posts here, here, here, and here!


Boak said...

Hi Stacey

We're glad you did too - very interesting read, thanks.

I remember being astounded by Caledonian 80 shilling first time I had it, but I've never had a pint as good as that first one.

PivnĂ­ Filosof said...

If I'm ever in the Mass. area I will sure go to a party with you. I don't know if I'll have a lot of fun, but I'm sure I will have good beer ;)