The other day I was asked a puzzling question, “what’s your favorite beer?” Being a “beer guy” who has tried hundreds if not thousands of beers, this should be an easy answer. But it wasn’t and I sounded like a d-bag with my response. I want to figure out with you the best way to answer this question so you don’t sound like one too.
On Monday a co-worker who I’m pretty friendly with stayed over at my place since he had to be at an event near my house early Tuesday morning. I hope that gives you an idea of what working at a startup is like. Anyway, my wife, him and I went out to our favorite local sushi spot Passion Fin. Like the majority of sushi places, they have a full bar and a small beer menu with a bunch of AB-owned imports. Except Passion Fin also serves cans of locally-made Lost Rhino Face Plant, their flagship beer. I recommended that beer for my co-worker since he’s not from the area already knowing he likes IPAs from previous conversations. I believe it was a good recommendation since he ended up ordering another. That’s when he hits me with the question, “so what’s your favorite beer?” After a few ahs and ums I finally stutter out, “well it depends on the context.” My wife shook her head in disapproval. Yep, I’m a d-bag. But that’s what I believe!
A favorite beer is all about context. Where am I? What time of day is it? What season is it? What have I been doing that day? What will I be doing that night? Is there food involved? How much will I be drinking? How much does sentimental value play into my decision?
This question can be interpreted a couple ways. One way, and the way I phrase it on Conversations with Beer Bloggers, is if you could only drink one beer for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If you could only drink one beer for the rest of your life, what would it be?
This answers many of the above contextual elements. While I’ve had better beers, even in the same style, Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout is my answer. It’s a beer that I never get sick of. It has a low enough ABV I can drink many if there’s an all-day event and it’s hearty enough that I can drink just one for dessert. I also have a deep sentimental attachment to it.
Another way to interpret this question is what is the best beer you’ve ever tasted?
What is the best beer you’ve ever tasted?
This eliminates sentimental value and all contextual elements. This has happened in the past and there’s a definite answer. Well, kind of. It’s really difficult to choose just one of these also. Why? Well taste is greatly based around the overall experience. For me, Pliny the Elder might be the best beer I’ve ever tasted but only because of the circumstances. Or is it World Class Stout? Or BCBS?
Lastly, choosing a favorite beer begs this as well: what beer has the most meaning to you?
What beer has the most meaning to you?
Beers = memories and memories = happiness (the good memories at least). The first beer I drank after tying the knot was Port City Optimal Wit. Brooklyn Pennant Ale was one of my first craft beers and I personally got to thank Garrett Oliver for making it.
There have been too many beers with too many memories attached to them to name them all. When asking someone to choose a favorite beer you’re getting his or her memories that go along with it too. What’s your favorite memory? Hard to pick just one, right?
Let’s head back to the sushi restaurant. In hindsight I should have answered with, “If I’m only having one beer for the rest of my life, it’d be Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout but it’s not the best beer I’ve ever tasted. There are a few really, really good ones I’ve had but Pliny the Elder has the most significance to me behind it. You know, there are also a bunch of beers that I love just because of my history with them like Port City Optimal Wit or Brooklyn Pennant Ale. What about you?” Maybe that’s not completely d-bag free but that’s much better that what I actually said.
So let me ask you. What’s your favorite beer? Tell me below! Can you pick just one? How’d you do it? If you can’t pick one, why not?
Thanks as always for reading. Here’s to drinking many good beers this weekend. Maybe you can find a new favorite! Cheers!!