Friday, February 25, 2011

My Beer Journey (Or The Birth of A Beer Geek)

In a break from the norm, this is a guest post from Adam Tuncay, a chap who I've met, along with many, many others, through Twitter and following this blog. He contacted me a few days back to ask if he could host a piece about the indroduction to Beer that he's had in recent months. Given that one of the reasons we write about Beer is to get more people to drink it, I was happy to oblige and interested to hear his views. Take it away, Adam....

My path to being a fully fledged beer geek isn’t unique by any means, we all have to start somewhere. Whether it is something you have grown up with, found yourself or - in my case - had introduced to you by friends.

Not so long ago a night in or out would consist of bottles of Italian or Indian lager. I would try the odd supermarket ale but nothing really enthused me enough to move away from what I already liked and was familiar with at the time.
That all changed on a Saturday afternoon in late August. I was encouraged by a friend to spend the day drinking in Sheffield and the surrounding area; and he was very keen on visiting a pub next to the train station. My experience of pubs at train stations had been somewhat tarnished over the years, mainly due to visiting many unimpressive establishments that offered poor quality beer and unwelcoming surroundings. So I didn’t have particularly high hopes when he suggested a visit to the Sheffield Tap, boy was I wrong. First up was a pint of Thornbridge Jaipur, one sip and I was blown away, the balance and depth of flavour was beyond anything I had experienced before. It was easily the best pint I had ever had, I knew then that I had to experience more beer like that. I could have stayed in there all day, but drawn by the promise of more Thornbridge beers we headed to the Coach and Horses in Dronfield, where we tried pretty much everything they had on.

That day changed my outlook on what good beer is and showed me that I shouldn’t be happy to accept average or worse beer. Since then my love for beer has taken on something of a snowball effect. I was initially obsessed with anything Thornbridge, but I quickly moved on to trying everything and spending a large amount of my disposable income on it.

Any visit to an unfamiliar pub is now accompanied a frantic scan of the bars' cask range in the hope that there is something I like or would like to try on offer. One of my favourite pubs and first place on the list for a good pint in Leeds is Mr. Foleys, however less than a year ago I didn’t even know it existed. I would probably have thought Brewdog, Summer Wine Brewery, Saltaire? Where is the proper beer like draft Becks Vier or Peroni!? Not that there is anything wrong with either of these, they are just no longer what I look for in a beer. I can still understand why some people would drink them or a similar mass produced option, if that’s what they like then fair enough but I would encourage any beer drinker to try something different, you never know you might like it, I did.

It's amazing how quickly my perspective has changed. I’m now trying to introduce friends to the great range of quality UK and US real ale, craft beer whatever you want to call it. I don’t want them to miss out like I did. My wife argues that this new found ‘hobby’ is a waste of money. I think her perspective comes from a view that beer is gone once you drink it unlike physical possessions and it’s hard for her to understand my sudden fascination. But is it a waste to spend money and get enjoyment out if something you truly love and are passionate about? I don’t think so. Beer is now a massive part of my life and one of the first things I talk about, think of and look forward to, spending too many hours reading the plethora of blogs on the web. My level of interest is such that I’m finding it easier writing this piece on my lunch than focusing on my job the rest of the day.I’m not quite at the stage where I can fully describe the aromas, flavours or underlying notes with any confidence, perhaps that will come with time, for now I’m just happy enjoying great beer and meeting new people that share the same passion. Through this new obsession I have been lucky to meet many likeminded people through Twitter who have been very welcoming to a relative beer geek newbie. I hope to meet many more of you and share a conversation over some great beer at Twissup in York on Saturday.


Stuart Robinson said...

Well done adam, enjoyed some really fine drinks a couple of weeks ago with you and some other initiates at north bar in leeds.

Stuart Robinson said...

A good read adam, keep writing and let us know about any gems you find out and about. Stu

Roger McNally said...

Great article Adam, really enjoyed reading this. Hopefully this will inspire others to try something different.

As for your taste buds, I'd say they're pretty much spot on. All the stuff you've recommended to me so far has been great.

Keep up the good work mate.

Anonymous said...

Very good article, Adam! I recognize your feelings for beer and your enthusiasm for all the good beer out there. I am a great fan of british real ale and Jaipur is on my Top 5-list!

Great blog Leigh!

Cheers from Norway!

TIW said...

I suspect Jaipur has been the cause of a lot of Damascene conversions. Such a great beer.