With all the beer available in San Diego, I sometimes wonder what it’s like being a “newb” in the scene. Say you just turned 21, and have never had a beer in your life. (ya right) Where do you start? Where do you go? How do you know what you’ll like? Let me tell you about my first experience, and how I went from thinking beer was gross, to having a love for it unlike any other drink in my life.
This is where things get weird. I grew up in a very religious household. I didn’t hang around too many people that drank alcohol. My parents don’t. My friends didn’t. (At least not around me) So, I didn’t have my first drink until I was about 24. Yeah, I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. Even I think it’s a little odd.
My first beer was a bud light. Maybe some Heineken. Yack! Not my choice nowadays, but it was a start. This was probably because most people around me were drinking the same thing. My good friend and I had “beer and gears” night, where we met up to play XBox and drink a few beers.
Let’s fast forward about a year or so. I think my very first taste of a craft beer was Stone’s Arrogant Bastard. Now, for those of you who are familiar, that’s quite a jump from a bud light. It was hard to put it down, but a part of me liked that it was so intense. The taste overwhelmed my mouth, and the flavor was unlike anything I’ve tasted.
It wasn’t until I went to the Stone Brewery in Escondido and had a Ruination that I was hooked. Of course it was a San Diego IPA, and at that time, one of the best I’d ever had.
The brewery scene was popping, and there was lots to discover. With friends around me who started brewing, and friends who had excitement for the beer culture, it was easy to get hooked. Not just on the discovery of so much beer, but the culture itself. The business side, the people, the movement, the excitement. It’s pretty unbelievable.
So, for those who are just dipping their toes in the craft beer world, I suggest taking it at your own speed. Try everything. We’re all different. Maybe you’re not a beer lover at all. That’s okay! (We just can’t be friends…. jk.)