Monday, January 13, 2014

Session #83- Against the Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien grain

[caption id="attachment_1560" align="alignleft" width="263"]session The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry.[/caption]

January is all about resolutions and Rebecca over at The Bake and Brew has suggested that we all take a long hard look at the reasoning behind our beer preferences.
"How much is our taste or opinion of a craft beer affected by what friends and the craft beer community at large thinks?"

The Session #83

Against the Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien Grain

Or, why beer reviews are messing with my mind.

I recently did a tasting review of Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien in which I spill one of the world's most talked about Swiss beers all over the floor and compare it to fermenting socks.

No matter what my Ridiculous Co-host said, I was (drunk and) unable to find the redeeming complexity that made that beer so highly rated on the rate sites.

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 10.23.37 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 10.22.17 PM

I don't care much about what the rate sites say because they don't always agree, but I do watch a lot of beertubers, read a lot of beer blogs, and

all my beer geek friends say it's the best beer ever...

What we now know, in hindsight of the filming, is that in my headstrong determination to enjoy the beer, even though I was more interested in singing christmas songs, was due to the fact that some where I had got the idea in my head that this beer was, "advanced."

Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien is one of those beers that one does not drink, one must experience.

You don't go springing this baby on a newbie craft beer drinker, oh nooo, waste of your time (and money, lots of money), this beer takes years of palate exercising. When a newbie does insist on sampling a bit, their nose gets all wrinkly and face mushes up, and thats when we are all supposed to lean back in our leather arm chairs and chuckle, "how cute, the new one can't appreciate the complexity of this fine heavenly liquid."

giphy me

Like Glen from Ithinkaboutbeer Beerisyourfriend mentioned, I had a fear of missing out. I wanted to understand what everyone was gushing about! It was the last bottle in the store- so rare and unique. Not everyone could appreciate it (or afford it). And, although we had already been drinking heavily on big christmas brews, I could not resist those renowned accolades and self inflicted peer pressures from luring me in.

I learned my lesson:

1. You can have too much of a good thing.

2. You may not be able to recognize said good thing.

3. Just because it's rare, expensive, and all your friends say it's the best thing ever does not mean you should get drunk and make a beertube review.

And some might add

4. A beer made with great attention deserves great attention.

But I haven't tried the beer again since this episode, so I still might think it a big ball of sweet & sour, tangy old socks. In a bad way.

Beer reviewing websites, as others have pointed out this month, are not the end-all word of what is top most in the world of beer. We'd have to first agree on what is the best beer style in the world. Literally impossible, because beer trends change daily, by region (according to google).

Read beer reviews, watch beer tube, get involved in discussions about what you like and why because you are more complex and well aged than any beer out there. No one can taste your taste.

This year's beer resolution: do more beer reviews! For you.



  1. Hey Nitch,
    Thanks for the link to my blog. Though I reckon I should point out that it's called Beer Is Your Friend, not I Think About Beer, as you've written :)

  2. And as I'm the writer of I think about beer, my name is not Glen! But as always, you've written a fun post. It's hard to review beers without expectations. I'm trying to get my hands on the new Spencer Trappist Ale, so I've been avoiding reviews so I can go in with a blank slate. But most of the time, I'm pretty good at just letting the beer be the beer and seeing what it has to say to me.

  3. Drunkin hyperlink master strikes again! One truly cannot proof read after a few beers, it simply does not work. Apologizes for the misconnection, it will be corrected and, as always, thank you for responding.
    It seems like we over think the beer too much but being the kinds of people that we are, so immersed in the culture, it can be hard to let the 'beer be the beer'. If we didn't have these influences we might be less inclined to experience new brews and then there wouldn't be much of a culture at all.
    If everyone says that Spencer Ale is the worst ever- you (we) would be interested in it even more, because we would need to sample it for ourselves! Influenced to hate drink or not influenced at all- it's just beer.
    Take that as you will.


  4. In the words of Ernest Hemingway: "Write drunk, edit sober."

    You're right about influences. I've heard less than raving reviews of the Zundert, but still had to have it. I'm still working on getting some Spencer here when it's released.