EDIT: OVER A YEAR LATER.
After moving into the historic brewery at Black Creek Pioneer Village, I’m pleased to say that I’ve started developing a taste for beer. At least, I like OUR beer. 😀
There is a great irony in my life. I find beer absolutely fascinating. Honestly, my interest in it started by accident. I have my Smart Serve and an extra person was needed in Black Creek’s brewery, one of my roommates back home is a would-be brewmaster who has several books about beer… Regardless of how the interest started, I’ve been hooked ever since. The history behind beer, brewing methods, tasting notes, alcohol volumes, and International Bitterness Units (IBUs, of course)… it’s all so cool.
But I don’t like beer.
Not one bit. I have never been able to handle more than a few mouthfuls of any variety. Friends mock my grimace when I choke it down. I have grown fond of white wines, but almost every other type of alcohol just makes me gag.
So it was really interesting to go on a tour of the Speight’s Brewery with two friends of mine. The tour was as follows: you get to learn about the history of beer, walk through the brewery and learn how they make beer, and then finish in the brewery bar for twenty minutes of unlimited access to the taps. One friend was quite clear that he was only interested in those last twenty minutes. I was equally clear that I only cared about the first two parts of the tour. The third member of our little band was somewhere in the middle.
Oh my God, it was awesome!
The guide was a wizened, perky guy who spiced his history with asides on current Dunedinites’ drinking habits. We learned about how the Ancient Egyptians first started brewing beer, and then how Europeans made “ale,” but then added hops to make it real “beer,” and how when Captain Cook arrived in NZ, he brewed beer to ward off scurvy. We learned how the barley is malted, and how the room corners are rounded to prevent accumulation of dust, bugs, and contamination. We learned how unfiltered, uncarbonated beer (i.e. Black Creek’s historic beer) is called “green beer,” and how the University of Otago devised the method of condensing hop powder into convenient pellets.
Then the guide asked, “So who here likes beer?”
Every hand but mine went up.
Nonetheless, I did try everything. As expected, I ended up giving most of it to a grateful (and increasingly chatty) Friend No. 1, though there was a cider that was palatable. Still, it was good to be able to actually taste the porter’s “hints of coffee,” as opposed to just learning by rote that they’re there.
But the true measure of my interest?
The appearance of beer-appreciation podcasts on my iPod. 😀