It was while I was watching the Super Bowl in February 2018, drinking from a box of American beers I had got in specially, that I posted my first Instagram pic through @craftynumber, but my interest in trying new beers had started a while before. It goes back to a trip to Edinburgh and in fact a slightly different alcoholic drink, whiskey! Going on a whiskey themed ride explaining how the drink is made, followed by a tasting flight of the four main types really opened my eyes to how different one drink could be. What followed was a number of different whiskeys bought for me or by me and after straying into the world of wine in the same way, I found my natural place in the world of beer.
In beer terms, I was always a typical lager drinker coming through the teenage years, as I’m sure many readers are familiar with. Into university, it was then about price more than anything, with Carlsberg the beer of choice in the student unions and their rather entertaining £1 pint evenings. It was never something I truly enjoyed the taste of, but as you do, drank away… other than a brief dabbling with cheap cider in my second year of university, basic lager was it for me. A few years later, I came to terms with Guinness and my horizons were broadened!
Looking at the craft beer world from the outside, it’s completely baffling. A load of words you don’t understand, hipster men with beards and tattoos but some very attractive looking cans and bottles. I think it’s easy to be put off, especially with some of the snobbery hanging around the beer world – people looking down their noses at lagers and everyone who drinks them, paying over the odds for the supposedly rare beers in smaller glasses. Some places seem to think that writing ‘craft beer’ on their windows, shop fronts and menus means they can bump up prices and cash in on that crowd. What it in fact seems to do is scare people into paying too much for beer they don’t necessarily like the taste of, or understand what they’re buying.
I’ve made a conscious choice to try as many different types of beer, from as many different breweries as possible. I want to understand the differences between them, and why one tastes more hoppy, malty, sour or sweet than another – so I know better what I like and where to find it. If you feel out of your depth looking at a menu of beers you’ve never seen before, at least knowing what you like can help you pick one out that won’t feel like a waste of money. However as anyone out there who’s had the same experience can attest to, you do get the occasional dud…
My way of documenting what I’m trying has been through Instagram, @craftynumber – give me a follow if you haven’t already! Take a look at what I’ve been drinking, if you’ve had them then let me know what you thought, and if there’s anything you’ve had that you loved then I would be very grateful for your recommendations!
I’ve been meaning to start writing like this for a while, but never found the time. After an extra boost of willpower I find myself typing, finally! Plan is to be a bit retrospective at first, catching up with some of the beers I’ve been trying, and maybe talk a bit about my experiences buying and trying beers over the last few months. I hope you read and enjoy, and I’m always happy to see any comments. Thanks for reading, and cheers!