There, I've said it. I'd probably be turned out of some beer fans' homes for such utterances. I've certainly been given a thumping on some beer forums for saying such a thing. Beer is produced by the sweat, and tears, of hard working men and women, and the brewers' handiwork must be admired and appreciated. Beer is my favorite beverage and I can wax poetic about it. But face it, in the end, beer is just that, a beverage. When do we get carried away in our "respect" for beer?
Recently I saw an online discussion about this article, The Best Beer in the World. The article's author shares a story about a Westvleteren 12 tasting. The folks being treated to this beer were having a good time describing the flavors they noted in unusual terms; Wonder Bread, Tootsie Rolls, Sun-Maid raisins, Grape drink. The drinkers enjoyed the beer and I thought it was great they didn't get their heads full of self-rightousness and could still have fun even when faced with a legendary beer. However, the commenter in the online discussion was indignant, and thought the attendees had "no respect, nevermind reverence for the Westveletern".
C'mon folks, Westvleteren is made by holy men, but that doesn't make the beer a holy object. What's the point of enjoying a good beer with friends if you can't have fun doing it? Should we dress in our Sunday best before consuming it? (I've never had a Westy, but from what I read, the descriptors weren't that far off the mark.)
It's not uncommon to read an online discourse in which someone will state that pouring out a beer is disrespectful. I've seen more than one person claim that, even if they do not like a beer they opened, they will drink it anyway — "out of respect." I drink beer because I enjoy it. Why should I force something down my throat that I find unpleasant? Nothing disrespectful to the beer or the brewer is implied if I find I do not like a beer.
I often wonder if the folks who claim that they would never pour out a beer feel the same way about the food they eat. The farmers work hard to produce the food that graces our tables. Do the beer worshippers always eat a food that they find unpleasant out of respect for the farmer who grew it? I doubt it.
What do you think? Do you force yourself to drink beer you don't enjoy simply out of respect for the beer? Is pouring a beer down the drain showing disrespect towards the brewer?