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
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
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
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
So the Beer Republic is me
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.