Tuesday, February 21, 2012

CT Column 25/01/2012 : ‘I’m strictly a broccoli man’

This week’s column title comes from a quote by the Canadian beer writer Stephen Beaumont. In short Stephen likens beer drinkers who will only drink the one brand or type of beer to people who would only eat one vegetable “No thanks, I’ll pass on the mashed potatoes, carrots, bread and roast beef. Me, I’m strictly a broccoli man.” However its not only traditional beer drinkers who fall into the trap of identifying themselves too tightly to one type of beverage. Time and time again people come up to me and say ‘I tried beer X it’s amazing! but I don’t like beer, I’m a wine person’. Just as our big brewers have successfully instilled the idea in many that it’s part of their identity to drink just the one brand of uncomplicated golden lager, the wine industry seems to have successfully instilled the idea that to drink wine says something positive about your class and status. The fact that they really enjoyed ‘beer X’ seems to threaten that positive wine identity. So rather than taking this as a sign that the world of beer is more varied than the one type of golden lager they have so far experienced, they write the experience off as a one-off phenomenon and return to their comfort zone. From my point of view this seems rather unfortunate. The late Michael Jackson, the beer and whisky writer not the one gloved pop singer, summed it up when he wrote “Whatever is argued about other pleasures, it is not necessary to be monogamous in the choice of drink”. I couldn’t agree more, while beer is most certainly my first love in the world of fermented foods, cider, port, sherry, single malt whisky, rum, calvados and cognac all pass over my palate with varying regularity. The world of fermentation is infinitely varied and it seems very sad to limit ones self to just one small part of it. Cheers!

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