Most of the time, I curse my newness to craft beer, usually when I’m groping for the right word for that flavour or trying to remember which hops had that particular aroma. Other times though, being new to the scene is exciting – especially when trying new styles of beer. On Friday night I was fortunately enough to attend a tasting of many beers. I had many ‘firsts’ that night and many a proverbial cherry was popped. If you’re an old hand, I don’t really expect to make any momentous revelations to you; but maybe you can remember your ‘firsts’ with a smile.

The first cherry was drinking decent beer out of a can. This doesn’t sound like much, but it does take a bit of a mind shift to have faith in the product coming out of the can. I think the blurb on the can was right – it did taste reasonably fresh, despite having travelled from the States and I can see the logic behind its environmental-friendliness, although I’m not enough of a scientist to know for sure.

Some burst cherries I didn’t really take to, whether through a need to adjust to their idiosyncrasies, the sample not being the best example or simply because I don’t like that style. An example was the barley wine from the Alaskan Brewing Co. With abig and lasting hit of alcohol, it was a little too reminiscent of wine for this beer drinker.

Most of the other new experiences like the Humidor Series IPA by Cigar City Brewing,  which had been aged in cedar, or my first Lambiek, Oude Lambiek from De Cam Geuzestekerji, were new appreciations of variations in beers and how small details in the brewing process can change a beer’s characteristics.

Then I had I had my face melted off by Russian River Supplication. Now you may think having your face melted off is not a pleasant experience, but it was one I truly enjoyed! The Supplication is a sour ale, but with a nice balance of sweetness. I like sour and, while I wouldn’t drink a whole pint of it, I was quite happy to sip away, experiencing the crazy dance it lead my taste buds on.

They say you always remember your first, but I don’t remember my first craft beer or the pivotal moment when I realised how much better craft beer was than the mainstream. I know in a way it’s irrelevant; humans’ obsession with beginnings and firsts is a little pointless, given time is a continuum and events are generally just one piece of a larger story. But it’ll be nice one day to look back and remember the first time a sour beer put a slightly melted smile on my face.

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