Turn That Brown Upside Down

When I started this back in December, it stemmed from a day of me going bar to bar. It wasn't my first mission, but it soon became clear that I was going to be drinking as many brown ales as I could find. It had nothing to do with an extreme love of Brown Ales. Quite the opposite, actually. Browns have never actually been I care about. Like at all. Never. I have never left work thinking "YEAH! GIMMIE A BROWN ALE! IT'S GO TIME! At the end of the day, I had drank about three brown ales. That is probably two more brown ales than I have ever previously consumed in one day I could not have been more frustrated with my palate.

For as long as I have been drinking, I have always tried to make it a point to try as many new beers as possible. Not so much that I feel I need to like everything, but in a market where are choices seem limitless, I want to experience as much as I can. And yes, I absolutely want to like everything I drink, but I know I can't. The math is against me. I hate math.

This bugs me more than it should. The whole uncomfortable feeling in me that stemmed this whole piece: There are entire styles that I just plain do not care for. More specifically, Brown Ales (and until last year, Barleywines). When I started this beer journey, it was on the heels of pale ales and wittes, from there I jumped into IPAs, then porters came along and lulled me into a sense of warmth and security. Stouts eventually joined the party, as did sours, lagers, pilsners, and practically everything in-between. but I was under that dumb assumption that if I was going to get into this beer thing, I WAS GOING ALL IN, BRO! I felt (stupidly) disingenuous about whatever status I had achieved, because there were two entire styles I could not commit to.

When it came to barleywines, I tried as many as I could get my hands on. I knew it was a style that I wanted to enjoy, partly because I had already given my love and adoration to DIPAs. On paper, I should have loved barleywines. But this attempt at courtship quickly became an exercise of punishment I was finding myself more and more put off with each bottle opened, each bottle sipped, and each bottle left unfinished. There were countless moments of being heckled “zomg how can you not like that, that is an amazing beer. You have shitty taste blah blah blah.”

I caught much less shit with my stance on browns, but that's because..I mean, who really cares about brown ales?

It is perfectly acceptable to not like a beer, and I'm not sitting here telling you “do what I do, try everything, something will eventually stick.” That kind of masochistic approach certainly isn't for everyone, but for me it was kind of what I needed. In 2013, barleywines became a style I absolutely adore. It started with Union Brewing's "Chessie." I was intoxicated with how easy it was to drink, how good it tasted, and how much I liked it! It was an unforgettable moment for me, finally finding a barleywine that I liked. It opened up a previously stubbornly closed door for me. I finally got it. Are there still ones I don’t like as much? Sure, but I'm going to run into that with any style, I suppose. But I tell you what, I definitely enjoy far more now than I ever had. because of this new found inspiration I'm excited to re-visit some of the more off-putting ones I drank in the past, mainly Sierra Nevada's "Big Foot," and Weyerbacher's "Blithering Idiot." So you know, we’ll see how that goes.

The underlying point of all this nostalgia has brought me back to what spurred this little post initially. Brown Ales. That deplorable little ale. I have tried countless browns (actually, about 15 according to Untappd), and still have yet to find one that I could hold up as a beacon and say "Yes! This is what a brown ale is, this is what I want a brown ale to be, and this is what a brown ale should be!" Because in so many of the ones I've tried, there is no real cohesiveness. I can take any 2, put them side by side, and have 2 completely beers. And that’s frustrating.

Have I found some that aren't terrible? Absolutely. Looking at my Untapped scores, I don’t rate them unfairly like some jerks do (the highest rating being a 4, and the lowest was a 3). Just because I don’t like a particular style, doesn't mean I cant appreciate a good beer.

I find when I talk about a particular brown ale with someone, more often than not I get the “that’s not what a real brown tastes like,” which is doubly frustrating, because AT THIS POINT I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT A “REAL”BROWN ALE IS SUPPOSED TO TASTE LIKE! Ugh. But am I going to give up? Fuck no, my stubbornness is to blame for my new-found love of barleywines, a style that has given me so much drunken happiness.

So, with no real purpose to this post, I'm here to tell you, that just because you like beer, doesn't mean you have to like every beer, or even every style.

Just, you know, drink what you like.


Hipster Brewfus

P.S. I <3 bruins="" oud="" p="">

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