Part of the beauty that lies in beer is the discovery. There are a plethora of styles, a barrage of nuances,and a myriad of contexts in which to discover the king of beverages. When the would-be beer drinker starts the quest of exploring a fresh world of beer, it seems as though the sky is the limit. Bottles are purchased, locations are scouted, rumors of rare bottles become fictive hopes…
And then it happens.
One day, the beer drinker becomes aware that the thrill for discovery is a little less thrilling. Searching for the rare bottle takes a back seat. The 100 tap handles do not seem as awe inspiring. As Scott from Manland once told me, the kid in the candy store feeling is not there any more.
There is no need for the beer drinker to worry; you still affirm your love for beer. For that reason, it certainly is not a matter of enjoying the beverage. Perhaps the cost of paying $15 for each bottle becomes a bit too cost prohibitive, maybe your interest was meteoric (you went to hard too fast), perhaps it is even the extreme nature of our beer culture combined with our programatic notion that the newest/latest greatest is the best. A number of factors can be sight to explain why the thrill is gone. Perhaps the most potent answer is the following: it was bound to happen. It was inevitable. The wave invariably crests and crashes. However, this is not the end.
If a term could be coined for what happens after the initial push toward loving beer, it might be called “beerturity.” It is not dissimilar to the difference between married love and dating love. At some point in a marriage, the equilibrium of love is reached. The lover begins to realize that a mature love, while not as butterfly evoking, is a much deeper one that can account for the lover in a way that was formally impossible while dating. But beer, of course, is not love.
So, there appear to be several ways to keep discovering/rediscovering beer. The route that I have taken is to delve into the history, food pairing, and brewing aspects of beer. In a word, my obsession has become more full and rounded. It is funny how the enjoyment of something goes. By all appearances, the more you know about something, the more you appreciate it.
Yet, I do not want to minimize the feeling that the thrill is gone. Perhaps a new thrill about beer (or something else) will be found. Maybe a new brewery will catch your eye. You may even possibly take up brewing. Just remember that an unalterable law of thrill seeking is that it is ultimately unsustainable. The person who has a deep appreciation and a profound gratitude toward an object can always appreciate it. This idea is very freeing.
I had a professor who used to talk about postmodernism being, in some ways, the discovery of a second innocence. Beer may not be unlike literary theory and epistemology in that sense. What I mean is this: The thrill may be gone, but a deep appreciation that will set in is far more thrilling in the end.
Thrill—>Discovery—>Lost Innocence—>Rediscovery—>Profound Appreciation
This it seems, is what every single person who loves beer experiences. I have you and you have (or will).