Barley, Malt and Hops …take 2!

…turning point for beer was University.  I was never much of a party girl, however Frat parties were just downright boring without some sort of intoxicating lubricant.  It was certainly then that I decided beer was pretty gross, however a necessary *evil* to get me through a Friday and Saturday evening without being the sober one amongst a sea of drunkards.  In saying that, I played the *designated driver* card as much as possible …

Shortly out of University I tried stout …is this really beer?  I quickly fell in love.  Yet another thing that was first met with disdain, was now a new friend.  I think that it was sweet enough to mask the bitterness that lay beneath.  From there came all the others, one at a time …didn’t love most of them at first, however with persistence, I’ve grown to like something unique about each and every one.


Barley, malt and hops …

Beer in another of those things which has been slow to develop on my palate.  As a child, my mother used to drink shandy’s …a drink served in most Commonwealth countries and consists of beer and 7-Up (aka – lemonade).  She would come in from a hot afternoon of mowing the lawns and yearn for something to quench her thirst.  She would always offer my sister, Penelope, and I a child-sized portion.  We would always feel so grown up and important when we were offered one.

When I look back, she probably put in about 2 tablespoons of beer to 1 cup of 7-Up, thus the reason it always tasted so good and sweet.  Spring forward 15 years and I thought beer was revolting.  It was this savory, bitter drink that made me burp after I’d had it.  Yuck.

The tortoise or the hare …

So, I’ve found that some of my favorite things (and people) in life weren’t quite that way to begin with.  Some of my best friends were met with raised hackles upon first glance.  The same is true of many of the foods I love as an adult: wine, beer, coffee, dark chocolate, kumquats, beef …the list is endless.

When I was a few days more than 21, and far from being a wine lover, I was invited on a business trip to Napa Valley.  The group had booked tours and tastings at some of the most exclusive vineyards in the area. Cakebread Cellars was number 2 on the list and there was such a hype leading up to the tour.  To this point, my experience of wine was Boone’s Strawberry Farm, the sweetest, cheapest wine we could find at the supermarket which always did the trick of not tasting like beer and providing sufficient alcohol content to feel no pain.  Being naive and not wanting anyone to realize my ignorance, I, too, exclaimed my excitement.  So, we started the tastings with a white which was tasty enough, however certainly lost on my untrained and unsophisticated palate.  Then, we got to the reds.  ‘Delicious, lovely, full-bodied’ were all words that I’d heard from the first vineyard, so I mimicked them when it came time to *describe* the reds at Cakebread.  One of the fellow travelmates was elated at my enjoyment and bought me a case …’what the hell do I do with a case of wine which I think is atrocious?’ was all that could cross my mind.  Thankfully, my parents had taught me well, so my knee-jerk reaction was an overwhelming ‘thank you!’

It wasn’t until a few years later when I was introduced to wines gradually (white wines first!) and learned that they actually can be delicious, lovely and full-bodied.  It was then that my interest in wine was piqued and I slowly and surely have entered into a lifetime of self-education.  My love for wine certainly didn’t develop quickly, however it has developed in a way that makes me chuckle every time I think about my experience at Cakebread.  How could I ever have thought that such a well-structured wine was nearly worth spitting out?

When looking back through, I find that the things I hold dearest are the things I reach slowly.  As for my love of wine, I think I’m more like the tortoise …tap, tap, tap on the shell.

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