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Doug's Beer Republic

Doug's Beer Republic

You think I always had it this good?

I used to hate beer.      

When I was ten or so, my father let me have a sip of his Budweiser, and I despised it. You know how it is.  When you're a kid, you lack sophisticated tastes.  Beer and other alcoholic beverages are adult drinks.  Kids aren't supposed to like them.           

As a teen, I wasn't rebellious in a way that would involve me being caught intoxicated with my pants down in a gutter.  At 18, I forced myself to get drunk, just because I felt it was about time I discover what the sensation of inebriation was like. I did it almost like a scientific experiment.  I wasn't into beer or any other alcohols.  The disgusting beers I could sip at overly loud and painful fraternity parties weren't worth getting for free.  I re-tried Budweiser about this time, and it tasted exactly as I remembered when I was 10. 

Some things you like, some things you don't like.  I figured beer was just one of those things I despised, like chopped liver, foie gras and potato kugel.           

When I was 21 and passing through France, I heard about a Belgian beer bar.  I had no clue before then that Belgium was a brewing powerhouse.  I was just fascinated that a country that small could brew so many beers.  So I paid this Belgian beer bar a visit.  I don't remember what I ordered, but I do recall thinking how good it tasted.  Nothing like the watery lagers it was 'cool' to drink back home. 

That experience changed my entire attitude towards beer drinking.  When I got back to the United States, I sought out more unusual beers and recruited a friend to sample them with me.  [He is now a beer aficionado, too.  Do I deserve the credit for that?]  The following summer, I was in New York City and passed a beer establishment offering beers from 30 different nations.  Today, a passerby wouldn't bat an eyelid, but back in 1990, being able to sample beers from Argentina and New Zealand was a big deal.       

By the time I moved to California in the late 1990's, you could find quality beers, both domestic and international, at the local grocery store. I didn't drink often, but when I did, I'd pick up an entire six pack and drink it in one sitting.       

Visiting a friend in Portland, Oregon in the early 2000's was an eye opener.  The quality of the local beers there was like nothing I'd ever previously experienced.  This period was a beer renaissance.  Quality microbreweries were sprouting up all over the United States. 

Then I wound up moving abroad.  I still enjoyed drinking a beer, but the variety and the quality available to me in Thailand was a far cry from what I'd gotten accustomed to since 1990.  In some way, it was like going back in time to a bland beer period before I ever started drinking.  My girlfriend liked beer, and several times a week, we'd sit on our front porch or on our balcony and drink a cold one.  Amazing quality, however, wasn't part of the equation.       

When we moved to Bangkok in 2011, there still wasn't a lot of beer choice. This started changing around 2012.  You'd see better multinational brands like Leffe showing up in pubs -- at a price.  Taxes on imported alcohols are high.  An Imperial pint of a Leffe would wind up costing $9, probably normal where you live, but astronomical next to the prices of local foods and drinks here.  It seemed like an extravagance to spend that amount on something neither me nor my girlfriend-turned-wife considered a necessity, so we engaged in fine beer drinking rarely.      

The beer varieties available in Thailand continued to escalate after 2013.  It soon got to the point where I didn't remember how much I liked or disliked something or if I'd tried it.  That's where the Beer Republic comes in.       

I truly didn't want to start this site. I am busy with other projects, including the Chocolate Republic.  Writing beer reviews isn't something I wanted to do.  There are already enough self professed beer experts whose sites already get hits.  Would anyone care what I had to say?  Probably not.            

But I care.  I want to chronicle if I like Hitachino's Dai Dai Ale more than I like their Nipponia; if I prefer Prearis' Belma to their Quadrocinno.  In databasing  beers by brand, country, alcohol content type, and rating, I can document the journey I am taking into the wider-than-ever world of beer.

So the Beer Republic is me profiling my own beer education.  I am going into this project expecting no visits, no hits, no comments.  I've set all the articles and reviews up to accept comments, but I won't be waiting with bated breath for anyone to come by and say anything.  That's a bonus.  As I proceed on this journey through my own beer republic, I can't help but eventually become a beer expert of sorts.  Will it take 10,000 hours or 10,000 beers to get there?      

Even if the Beer Republic manages to get millions of hits and you're one of them, there's no reason you should believe me and my ratings. I'm one man with a particular taste.  Read what I write and discern why I appreciate or don't appreciate a brew.  Then maybe pick up a morsel of wisdom to add to your own truth.     

That's definitely something worth drinking about.  Cheers.  Skål.  Kompei.          



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10 April 2015
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