REFRESHMENT? IS THAT YOU?
I remember that every huge swallow was followed by me looking down at the bottle, confused, and then sniffing the remaining contents of the bottle. How did this beer smell like weed, but then taste like a roasty, burnt bottle of bitter? But why am I smiling from the inside out? Are these hop-induced goosebumps?
That immediate focus on the dominant flavors that then gave way to the subtle flavors was a completely new beer experience for me. Beer had always been two dimensional for me: cold and beer-y. Basic. Expected. Bland. Someone says “beer” and I set my imaginary flavor receptors to the consistent malt sweetness of the macro lagers.
I had unintentionally walked through a door and found myself confused, but equal parts inspired to find out more. Why was this beer, this Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, sooooooo different?
Well, it had different everything: ale yeast, hop profile, malt type. This was 1000% different, and I liked what it made me feel. I’m not talking about the warm fuzzy feeling that a couple of beers can award you. That first craft beer experience transpired me to feel like I now had some things to LEARN about beer that made me THINK about beers when I wasn’t DRINKING beers!
Just for some perspective, my roommate Sal wasn’t a beer snob. Sal had a Costco membership. Costco sold cases of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Costco was just behind our apartment complex in Goleta, California. And what was on the other side of that Costco that I could see from my bedroom window?
THE SIERRA NEVADAS.