Don't Like That Beer? Nobody Cares.

"Taste is subjective," he said to me, finishing off a pint of what I thought was a completely terrible beer made with old ingredients. He signaled the bartender, "another pint of the same, please."

I know better than to tell anyone that the beer they're drinking seems off to me, unless they explicitly ask. Ironically, however, this stranger and I had been talking about the complexities of an individual's taste buds and how everyone's different, anyway.

This is something I've learned over the last four years, since I became a Cicerone: there are plenty of people out there who like beers I don't and that doesn't mean I'm right or they're wrong or the other way around. Before I started really training my palate I probably drank a lot of off beer and didn't think twice about it. Or if I did, I didn't know why and didn't care enough to figure it out. I just drank the damn beer and went on my merry way.

And this can be said for beers that are perfectly good, too. I really don't like Mosaic hops. I think they taste like a cigarette put out on a tire. But 90% of the people I talk to LOVE them, so what can I say? You know what opinions are like.

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I've been to breweries I think have only mediocre beer and they seem to be successful. They have a dedicated following. People rave about them on their Facebook page and they've got a 4+ star rating on Google. It's interesting. And what it tells me is that there's a beer out there for everyone. As long as they're happy drinking it, I shouldn't pee on their parade just because I think I know better.

This is not to say that if you think you've gotten a pint of off beer, you shouldn't say something to the brewer. They have a right to know and, hopefully, they want to. It may be a result of something that's not within their control. But, for the most part, I keep my opinions to myself. Beer makes people happy, and this is in large part due to the socialization that comes along with it. Since there's so much to worry about in our world these days, I know I have to give everyone the most opportunities to enjoy themselves, opinions be damned.

So, drink up, Buttercup, and know that if you like that beer and your buddy doesn't, well that doesn't really mean anything.

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Cheers to a New Year, everyone!

Lyra Penoyer