The Session #83: Against The Grain

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community which was started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin’s nice archive page.

This month’s session is hosted by Rebecca at The Bake & Brew and is all about if our perception of a beer is changed by what friends or influencers think. Do they like stuff I don’t and vice versa?

Well the short answer is that no, I don’t think we like things just because other people do, not like pretending not to like albums because my friends hated them back when I was 14 just to fit in. I can imagine some people do but they're total cockgoblins.

Sure, there’s stuff that other people rave about and I dislike. A prime example of this is Fuller’s Bengal Lancer, an English style IPA. I first had it on cask years ago when I was just getting into beers, and I really didn’t like it. I remember it being really earthy and just horrible (bear in mind this was a time before I hadn’t really discovered hoppy beers and didn’t really like stouts). So about a year ago, having a discussion on twitter about Bengal Lancer and predictably you’ve got everyone saying “Why don’t you like Bengal Lancer? You should like Bengal Lancer! It’s a classic beer”, right so a classic beer makes it good? Hell no it fucking doesn’t. Anyway, they all seem to like it so I picked a bottle up, and back in 2012/13 I was well versed in beer so I was REALLY hoping to like it, but I didn’t. People told me about all of these wonderful flavours they’ve found in this beer, but nope. Taste was not influenced one bit. I still found those dirty, earthy flavours. I absolutely hated it, still.

So no, other people cannot influence whether or not I like a beer!

On the other hand, I developed a bit of a reputation that I’m sure a lot of my readers will predict me talking about right now – the biggest selling beer of the last 30 years in the UK is Carling, a Molson Coors standard lager. And I developed the reputation as this beer geek/blogger that not only spends most of his time necking decent beer from Brewdog, Stone, Adnams, Mikkeler and the like, but fills the gaps in between with Carling, because he likes it. I was never ashamed to admit that but everyone looked at me in disgust at first, as if I’d just told them I want to burn them alive. What’s the deal with that? Sure it’s a big brand, and it’s not to most beer geeks’ tastes but I liked it and that’s what counts. I wasn’t trying to influence them to drink it, but still with the fucking disgust. Eventually it became a bit of a joke, which is awesome but if you hate a beer, why can’t I drink it?

And really, that’s the bottom line. Some people enjoy Bengal Lancer, and I enjoy Carling.




  1. Funnily enough Carling does taste exactly like a German pilsner and e.g. Fosters tastes of nothing much. This doesn't help me much because I don't really like pilsners at all, German, Czech, you name it, but it doesn't mean pilsners or carling are bad, just that I don't like them.

    How did you feel about blogger's favourite White Shield when you first tried it? I was shocked how ordinary it was after all the hype Id read from beer writers.

    1. Y'know, I've actually never had White Shield which is quite ridiculous! I really need to get to Morrison's and grab a bottle.

      There is a lot of hype surrounding it and I think it's mainly because of the history more than anything.


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