Thursday, 9 November 2006

Beer is the teacher

I remember in the Czech Republic being told 'pivo je ucitelj', beer is the teacher. (My Czech may not be very good; I was after all learning it with the help of several beers.) That's 'in vino veritas' adapted for a beer-drinking country.

Well beer has recently taught me a lesson. I was working at Norwich Beer Festival as part of the cellar team. It's a good job; you get to do the quality control (though by the end of the week, believe it or not, this really does become a chore).

I have decided preferences in beer. I like it dark - the darker the better. Milds, stouts, old ales, that's my thing. I don't drink IPA. I don't drink lager (except for Budvar black lager of course.. ) I like sweet beers, I don't like hops.
So why is it that my favourite beer of the entire festival was a pale, hoppy, citrusy IPA? Thornbridge's Jaipur IPA to be precise. Damn, that's lovely stuff!

So what did the beer festival teach me? NOT TO BE PREJUDICED.

That applies to beer. It applies to people. And it applies to travel. How often do I hear someone say 'I don't like modern architecture', or 'I can't get on with the Baroque', or 'I don't like big cities', or something like that? People who won't visit Versailles because they're not into palaces.

So - don't be prejudiced. We all have our preferences, and I'm very clear what mine are. But keeping an open mind is more fun.

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