What’s YOUR Favorite Beer?

I’d like to share an anecdote with you.

I recently overheard someone refuse a bottle of beer produced by a well-established, successful New York brewery. “That is the worst beer ever made,” he said to me, when I asked him about it. “No one drinks it.” He chose instead a brand owned by AB-InBev.

The beer he didn’t want was Brooklyn Brown Ale, and the beer he drank was Stella Artois.

The point of me sharing this with you isn’t this person’s choice of beer, though of course if you put those two beers in front of me, I wouldn’t even consider drinking Stella.

My point is the explanation for not drinking the Brooklyn beer. I’m not in the business of telling people what beer they should like, in fact that’s the last thing I would ever want to do. Everyone’s taste in beer is different, and I’m not about to tell you the beer you’re drinking is “Bad” or “Good.” I like how Brooklyn Brown Ale tastes. I don’t like how Stella Artois tastes. This is my personal preference, and you or someone else may feel quite differently.

Saying a beer is “the worst beer ever made” is just silly. And saying “no one drinks it” even sillier. Obviously people drink it, because Brooklyn Brewery is a successful business. If no one bought that beer, they wouldn’t sell it. By declaring that a beer someone is about to drink is the worst beer ever, you’re insulting that person for liking it. You’re applying your own personal taste to the whole beer drinking community, and come on. That’s not fair.

When talking to other beer fans and enthusiasts, the question we hear most often is: “What’s your favorite beer?” (Interestingly, a close second is “So you brew your own beer?” The answer to which, if you’re curious, is “Not lately.”)

We normally deflect the question by saying “That’s like naming your favorite child!” And then we talk about a few beers we really enjoyed recently. Or we name the styles we gravitate toward most.

It’s a difficult question for many reasons. Chief among them is that we like drinking different styles at different times. A cool pilsner or a sour ale on a hot summer day, for instance. An IPA on a cool spring or autumn evening. A roasty oatmeal or imperial stout in the dead of winter.

Beer is a wonderfully diverse beverage. It can be paired with many different foods, and on many different occasions. And while I wouldn’t drink a chocolate porter in 90-degree weather, maybe you’d like to. I don’t like Scotch Ales, but I love sour beers. Plenty of people I know find the tartness of sour beer off-putting, and others happen to love Scotch Ales. We’re all different and we all love different things.

So let’s all be open minded and drink together!

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