My Road to Craft Beer Nation


I’m a Hop Head when it comes to Craft Beer.  A big, bold, bitter, tropical Imperial IPA?  Pine, resin, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, bitterness?  Yes please!  Talking to many other Craft Beer drinkers I seem to be in the minority in how I approached Craft Beer and where my palate has journeyed.

Most people I know started on one end of the spectrum, more on the Lager, Wheat, Brown or Stout side and worked their way over time to IPAs.  Me? I dove right in.  A trip to the store found me staring at shelf after shelf of beer and I reached for two: Green Flash Hop Head Red and Stone Arrogant Bastard.

I cracked each open and sipped and They Were GLORIOUS.  I was worthy!  To this day, Stone’s Arrogant Bastard remains in my personal Top 5 favorite beers.  Since then, I spent a year or so devouring every IPA, every hoppy beer I could find, reveling in the majesty that was The Hop.

And then, thanks to beer festivals and craft beer friends I discovered Ommegang Abbey Ale and the world of Belgian Beers opened up for me.

Before I get to joining Craft Beer Nation let me jump back in time to the 1980s.  I hung out in the Irish bars in the Bronx back in the days when the rest of the country had yet to discover Hip Hop.  I didn’t drink back then, not until the late 1980s, on my 23rd or 24th birthday.  But eventually beer found its way to my lips in the form of Rheingold in a bar on St Mark’s Place in the East Village.  However, trips over to the West Village led us to an English pub that also sold, along with their English imports, what I realize now were probably homebrews made in their basement.  This was my original introduction to what would be considered Craft Beer.  From that moment forward my beer intake would bounce back and forth between American macro Lagers and beers from all over the world.

Fast forward to about six years ago when I relocated to the Finger Lakes region of New York State and finally left macro brews behind.  Lagunitas IPA is probably the most responsible for this transformation.  My trip to the store mentioned above where I discovered Stone and Green Flash came the very next day after my first Lagunitas.

As for Craft Beer Nation I got onboard in Google Plus before it was fully open to the public, by chance more than anything and dabbled there for a while.  And then one day I stumbled across G+ Communities and the Craft Beer Nation.  And I noticed they did these Friday Night Hangouts. So I went to their YouTube Channel and watched at least half a dozen of them.  Realizing it was a really good group of people I squeezed into a hangout on my second try and have remained. And over the course of the past year I’ve had fun trying out each different style of beer picked for the week.  If you are wondering about a particular style of beer look for that week’s hangout and in the midst of the camaraderie I hope we impart some tidbit of knowledge.

2013 found me finally working my way in the other direction, exploring things like the Bavarian Heffeweisen and Trappist Beers.  For 2014 I’ve decided to explore the Brown Ale and the Lager, styles that make be go “meh”
and “yuck”. By year’s end I hope to change those reactions to joy and excitement.  Now I’m not expecting an Arrogant Bastard kind of love affair with either style but I hope to come to 2015 having added some more Go To Favorites to my list.


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  1. Pingback: My Road to Craft Beer Nation | Charles Dunkley

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