My wife, Christine, is somewhat of a beer aficionado. I take that back; she IS a beer aficionado. While I can always tell the difference between a bad (cheap), watered-down beer and a decent beer, Christine’s palate can discriminate the nuances and subtleties of the brews she drinks; she not only knows what she likes and what she doesn’t like, but she knows why. I have enough trouble keeping track of the differences between lagers and ales, let alone being able to differentiate degrees of malty tones and floral bouquets.
One (of the many) benefit(s) to this marriage has been that I have been exposed to many more types of beer than I would have ever tried on my own. I never really liked the IPAs in the past; they were too bitter and too hoppy for my liking and I tried to avoid them whenever possible. Of course, they happen to be Christine’s favorite and, when I ran out of my beer, I would inevitably be forced to drink her IPA or go without. I’ve since come to appreciate and love the IPA, much to the detriment of other beers, which for me now lack the intensity and full-flavor of the IPAs. Christine has turned me into a beer snob.
After converting me to an IPA fan, Christine’s next challenge has been brewing her own beer. She’s really immersed herself into the research and culture of home brew: the terminology, the equipment, supplies, what ingredients for what types of beer, etc. About three weeks ago, we finally went to the home brew supply store and bought a starter kit as well as the ingredients for, what else, an IPA. The owner of the supply store graciously offered to come over and help her brew her first batch and within hours, the house smelled fragrantly of malts and hops. The beer is now in its second fermentation stage in our basement and looks quite delicious. While the tasting is yet to come, I’m proud of my wife, the brewer.