A romantic entry for the end of the year...
Beer. Yes, that's right, the magical brew that warms your belly, dissolves your social inhibitions, and satisfies the soul. It's a big deal for many foodies including myself, and is an equal contender with wine and spirits in the gourmet sprint to pair food and drink (and of course, be merry!).
The first beer I tasted was Rolling Rock. The first beer I got drunk to was either Miller or Bud. I don't know for sure, I was drinking Smirnoff Ice at the same time. Watered-down with adjunct grains like rice and corn, it was a tasteless fizzy beverage that I knew was cheap and American. And so went adolescence, with a bit of Corona and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale mixed in.
The first beer I fell in love with (my coup de coeur) was a Samuel Adams Winter Lager. My senior year of college, on a cold February night in Allston, the dirty hip neighborhood in Boston, I went to the local dive The Silhouette. (They serve movie popcorn in baskets and you'd be a sore thumb if you weren't wearing flannel.). It was after a dance performance across town, and a group of us went out to celebrate and discuss. After a few sips it all changed. It was like a spell. It wasn't just "beer" like I'd thought. It turned into adjectives and feelings: warm, happy, spicy, chocolaty, satisfying, smooth. It was the point of no return. From then on, I would never go out of my way to buy PBR and the like.
We all have our firsts, that was mine. Since then, the love affair hasn't stopped. With Black Butte Porter, New Belgium 1554 Enlightened Black Ale, and most recently Saison DuPont, I am happy to drink chocolaty and dry, fizzy and earthy, or just plain hoppy when I'm in the mood.
What to open next?