The more beer styles I try, the more I find what I like and what I don’t like. Almost always a beer style itself is way too broad to define what I like. There are preferences of course. Like lately I have been loving Saisons and Dark Lagers. These preferences change but do follow a basic set of rules. The flip side is a bit harder. What style of beer do I not like at all. Well – I want to say that there is no style I don’t like at all. That is the same as someone saying – oh I don’t really like white wine. That said – I had done just that with a particular style of beer.
I tasked two or three Gruits about a year ago and really did not like them. The medicinal taste was just not something that appealed to me. I could sense the spices but for some reason they did not fit together and what I was left with was too strong or something that I really didn’t like. So then, unfortunately, I had this stamped into my head that I don’t like a Gruit. A little before this I had picked up and stored in the back of my fridge, Jopen Koyt, a Traditional Dutch Gruit. And there it sat…and sat…and sat. Every time we went searching through the fridge I would skip over it and pick something else out. When friends would come over and I would say – let’s get something special out – it was never the Gruit.
Finally about a year after I bought it, I decided why not. I hadn’t had a Gruit in a long time – I would give it a try. Not suprisingly, I loved it. I just kept doing a double take – thinking wow this was in my fridge all that time – and it rocked – and yet I would not open it. The spices went perfectly with the big malty base – it was smooth and flavorful and warming. A fine beer. I decided not only to drink it but to cook with it. I had some hominy I wanted to use and some stew beef. A beery posole stew came to mind. The beer was great with the tomato base – it added a richness to the dish and a great rosemary flavor. The dish would not have been the same without the beer. That is the last time (hopefully) that I throw a whole style out the window based on just a few tastes.