I enjoy getting the newsletters from BarleyWine in Copenhagen. This is a no nonsense beer shop that has been around for a number of years, before all things beery became hip or trendy.
The shop owner Jan Filipe does not only introduce his new beers, he also has some words of advice for his customers. He was the one who held back his stock of the Nøgne Ø Dark Horizon 2 until he felt it had reached a proper maturity for drinking. His recent mail raises the issue of neophilia.
This conditions was coined by the (highly recommended) writer Robert Anton Wilson, but it is highly apropriate as a diagnosis for a large number of beer geeks. Whenever we enter a beer shop or bar, the question is always What’s new?
Jan Filipe points out that he is surprised, and slightly disappointed, almost every day when he recommends a beer and gets the response I’ve already tasted that one.
When he gets this answer he envisages the millions of passionate beer drinkers in Germany, Austria, The Czech Republic, Poland, Ireland and the UK, who every day talks about nuances of the same beer they have enjoyed for 10, 20 or 30 years.
He also points out that for micro brews, separate batches of the same beer might be very different. The same label might contain very different brews.
I have to admit I am quite guilty of what he describes. But I have to say that with the better access to world class beers we now enjoy here in Norway, I tend more often to order something I have enjoyed before. At the end of the day it’s a matter of balance, isn’t it?
I don’t go out of my way to get another new pale lager any more. But there is the thrill of the new sensations, too. And there wouldn’t be much to blog about if I stuck the same beer for decades.
Some years ago I was asked by a regular in a somewhat seedy Berlin Kneipe why I took a photo of a glass of beer. When I tried in my rather rusty German to explain the concept of a beer blog, he looked at me with the pity usually reserved for the mildly retarded.