"You used to hate beer - remember the time you told me that?"
My mother (bless her heart) likes to remind me of this statement, spoken when I was 16 years old.
What I like to remind her is that I still don't like beer...or at least what they called "beer" at that time. Honestly, what 16-year-old kid seriously enjoys the taste of Budweiser or Busch Light? Unless it's in the middle of a cornfield (I grew up in a rural small town in Southwest Wisconsin), and served from plastic cups for the sole purpose of getting you drunk (with an unbelievably bad hang over - not to mention the runs), why would I enjoy “beer?”
I sure didn't.
The first time I enjoyed beer was when I had a New Glarus Spotted Cow. The brewery opened in 1993, during the upswing of craft brewed microbreweries, and it was around 1998 when I had my first taste of this “real” beer. Its yeasty flavor with a mellow malt aftertaste made me realize beer is far more complex than the macro-brewed items made with corn and rice. I was spoiled by beer from this moment onward, and all the beers made in Wisconsin have only enhanced my curiosity in exploring the complexity and varieties of beer. If you want to know when I became more of a beer enthusiast, it was when I moved to Boston. Drinking the Cambridge Brewing Company’s Great Pumpkin Ale and their Heather Ale changed my beer life forever.
Now I study beer (my senior undergraduate thesis focused on how customer’s interact with beer), write about beer (www.beermeetscheese.com), and enjoy the beverage in all its aspects (especially when it’s a microbrewery beer I share with my mom). I can feel my German ancestors rejoice.