Monthly Archives: January 2017

Session #119 – Discomfortable Beer

Haven’t written a Session post in 17 months, but figure it’s good practice to get back in the saddle.

For Session 119 I’d like you to write about which/what kind of beers took you out of your comfort zones. Beers you weren’t sure whether you didn’t like, or whether you just needed to adjust to. Also, this can’t include beers that were compromised, defective, flat, off etc because this is about deliberate styles. It would be interesting to see if these experiences are similar in different countries.

My love of beer started with German beers, among them a good Bock beer, but years ago I first heard about this variant called Maibock. Not having any produced in my area at the time I decided to brew one. I studied the style, looked up some recipes online and at the homebrew shop I worked occasionally, until I had every detail down. I brewed the beer and it hit all the specifications. Okay honestly I doubt that I can say with certainty as when I was a homebrewer I didn’t often take gravity readings I figured, it converted sugars and fermented, it will be beer and that was my biggest concern at the time.

So after fermentation, then aging, I kegged and carbonated the beer and poured a glass of it. The weeks built my anticipation. Finally I got to taste my brew. My face fell flat, it tasted horrid, to me at least, my friends thought I did a decent job, but it had a certain character I disliked and couldn’t put my finger on.

That next weekend I was already traveling to San Francisco, I decided I would go to the Gordon Biersch brewpub and taste their example to find out how I compared. So I did exactly that. I brought that large Golden vessel of liquid bread to my lips drank deeply and realized my error.

My homebrew was a reasonable example of the style, clean, crisp, a bit of bready note. The problem was, I don’t like Maibocks. Their flavor is unappealing to me, much in the same way Irish Red Ale doesn’t appeal to me. I’d like to say I have learned to love them, I appreciate what it takes to brew both styles, but they simply aren’t what I like to drink. And that is perfectly fine.