Desperados, Discovery and Divine Intervention
My name’s Sarah, and I’m a craft beer convert. But it has to be said, I’m a relatively recent convert. When I first started working with BrewDog just over 2 years ago, James asked me what my favourite beer was. I was put on the spot here as I was a pretty dedicated white wine spritzer girl who liked the occasional Jim Beam and coke on a Saturday night. It pains me now to tell you what I replied with, but here it goes. Desperados. That’s right. I told James Watt, captain of the craft beer revolution, that my favourite beer was a 99.99% water, best-served-ice-cold-with-a-slice-of-lime, mainstream monstrosity. I saw the colour drain from my boss at the time’s face but didn’t really understand what I’d done wrong. My, how times change. This is the story of my craft beer journey.
My first ever beer was a Berliner Weisse, sipped in the very place it should be sipped, Berlin. I was on a school trip and it is the first beer I remember drinking. It was green and sour and fruity and scrummy! I had a Raspberry one too, and I enjoyed them. I was off to a good start, but things went downhill after that. I came home, and for the next 7 years all the beer I encountered was either pumped full of all types of horrible stuff or poured warm with almost no discernable taste and more often than not served with a side of huge hangover. I worked in a number of bars but none of them served craft beer. This is probably at least partially to blame for my late education. The south of England has a lot of work to do! Or rather, we have a lot of work to do.
Once I started working with BrewDog and was introduced to the intensely hoppy, super flavourful, exciting beers we and other craft brewers produced, my entire palette seemed to awake from a 7-year slumber. When I attended a beer school and listened to James present the beers and describe the intense mango and lychee and caramel and pineapple in Punk IPA, it was like being shown the light. All of these claims to flavours in beer that I’d always seen as pretty much wanky bullshit were suddenly dancing across my tongue! I could taste it! I could taste the mango and smell the caramel! I understood! It’s incredibly difficult to describe, but the sudden realisation that I could taste more than I knew was stunning, eye-opening and shocking. In a very, very good way.
I have been working for BrewDog full time for about 6 weeks now, and in that time I have been the envy of all my friends as I’ve been sampling the delights of many a brew. And I get paid for it. But more importantly, in that time I have discovered a hidden MENSA-level intellect located in my tongue that I never knew was there. I am hooked on our Jackhammer and am totally obsessed with sours and porters (well, I am from London). Once I realised that there was more I could learn, I made it my personal life quest to learn about every style of beer I can get my paws on.
This opportunity for discovery is intensely exciting and I would recommend it to everyone.
I know what it’s like to be the girl who says “I don’t drink beer”, but whenever someone says that to me now, I respond with “…yet.”.