Monday, May 17, 2010

The quest for good beer never ends

I blame Steve. It's all his fault. Really. Before he and I met about 16 or 17 years ago, I drank Budweiser and worse.

I remember once back in my college days in the early '90s scrounging in the back seat of my car for loose change, just so I could buy beer. I found almost two dollars. With that I could buy a six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon for $1.48. In the bottle. Wasn't that special. Back then, it was. I didn't know any better.

Then I met Steve.

Actually, I met Gere first, the lady who would eventually become Steve's wife. She and I worked together as editors at a newspaper. She and Steve were already dating at the time, and though Steve worked at another newspaper a few hours away, I still got to meet him through Gere. We were role playing gamers, an old game called Dragonquest. Eventually Steve landed a job where I worked.

He was my boss. Or, at least, he was my immediate supervisor.

Through our mutual interests in pencil and paper role-playing games, we became friends.

We started hanging out outside of game time. We went to local parties and gatherings, generally those of other newspaper folks. We hung out.

And that's when Steve introduced me to real beer.

At first I was hesitant. I tried what were relatively safe beers for me. Harps. Sam Adams. Guinness. Good, solid beers, but nothing extravagant.

Then I tasted a Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale. My life has never been the same since.

See, Samuel Smith's makes some of the best beers on the planet. If you don't know that as an objective fact of the universe, then you've either never had a Samuel Smith's brew or you are deluded. It should be in the Bible as the eleventh commandment: Thou shalt drink no other brews than Samuel Smith's.

And of the half dozen or so fine Samuel Smith's beers available, my personal favorite has always been the Old Brewery Pale Ale. For that matter, Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale is my favorite beer of all 530 beers I have tasted in my life (yes, I keep track ... this very blog is evidence to that).

Since trying that first Sam Smith's, probably back in late 1993 or early-to-mid 1994, I have been hooked. And I've been on a quest.

What kind of a quest? To find good beer. To find a beer betterthan Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale. After more than 15 years of tasting and drinking hundreds of different beers, I'm beginning to doubt there is a better beer.

Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of fantastic beers available on the market. Just none have quite reached the glorious heights of this one pale ale.

What do I do? I keep searching. It never ends. Oh, I can't drink beer like I used to. I'm no longer the young man naive to the world of beer. I'm getting older, and my health isn't what it used to be. But I can still have a beer every once in a while. And thus, the quest continues.

The quest eternal.

I blame Steve.

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