Chances are that you and every person you know has expressed this sentiment when tasting one food or another, even saying it about a particular beer. That’s bad, no good, this stinks, I’d rather swill brake fluid. Chances are that you and every person you know has expressed this sentiment, too.
Early on in the history of our website, we used to rate a lot of beer, and we maintained that there was a degree of objectivity that could go into tasting/rating beer. Well, you’ll be happy to know that we are just as naïve as ever, and that’s exactly why I prefaced the sentence right before this one with three others that drew a distinction. The distinction is one of the more subjective and the more objective.
To say “I don’t like this” is automatically and firmly placed in the world of the subjective (I being the subject). The grounds for assessment is one of self-reference and preference. I don’t like yogurt, I don’t like mimes, I don’t like this beer. Those are all statements that categorize something simply and neatly into one field of meaning…and the I’s have it. Of course, that’s not to say that the “I” has no reason behind not liking it. However, the definition is still based on preference.
I don’t like it because I don’t like hops, etc…still self-referential.
My personal experience with beer has been an ever evolving landscape. In fact, it is most likely a pretty foreign land compared to the initial entry into the beer world. I didn’t like IPAs, I didn’t like Sours, I didn’t like…well, many styles of beer. Whether “I” didn’t like a more exotic or more simply style, the style wasn’t this issue.
Truthfully, to say that I didn’t like IPAs is an understatement…I abhorred them with every inch of my soul (apparently, my soul is quantifiable). At the same time, you will see that I regularly gave a good IPA a good rating. Why? Well, I didn’t like it but it was still good in the sense that it was well made, appropriate according to stylistic guidelines, etc. And that’s about what it comes down to.
I genuinely love to drink a good IPA, a good sour, and a good…well name the style. The beers hasn’t changed. My palate has. So next time someone offers me some Roquefort Blue Cheese, I have to remind myself that I hate it…but it’s a damn good cheese. Preference is one thing, blindness to any semblance of objectivity is quite another. So be careful how you taste because you may end up eating your words.