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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:02 pm 
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Something I've pondered of late, some of it because of a question my young son asked me, recently. He said "Does beer taste nice?".

Here's the thing, I think he asked me because I'm his dad, so he expects I know the answer, as opposed to, sees me drinking beer - not that I'm suggesting there's something necessarily bad about that. Thing is, personally, I very rarely drink anything alcoholic (so he hasn't seen me drinking beer, is what I'm saying) - maybe might have the odd drink over the Christmast period, possibly. I can't remember the last time I did actually drink something alcoholic.

Now that's not because I'm a prude, or have some moral issue with it, nor because I used to have a problem - I didn't (and that's not denial, honestly, no sirree bob) - or anything like that. I've simply never really enjoyed it. I don't actually like the taste of most alcoholic drinks - be they beer, wine, spirits.

In my youth, when it's normal for late teenagers to experiment or get into it as they become young adults, I never really got into that scene. I trained a lot, maybe had the odd occasional drink in a minor way, socially, but some of it was as much about not actually enjoying it, nor enjoying the after effects, and it definitely had an effect on recovery and ability to perform, physically.

But getting back to the taste - in general, most aren't nice tasting - they're all mostly acquired / conditioned tastes. A child taking a sip of most of them, wouldn't think they were pleasant. And yes, I get, as we mature, the things we enjoy the taste of perhaps change - but how much of that is acquired / learned / conditioned?

Say you lined up somebody who'd never encountered alcoholic drinks, put a selection out there, as well as normal fruit juice, and perhaps some soft drinks, and I suspect most of the alcholic drinks would be avoided - well perhaps until the effects had made themselves known.

So this thing where it's an acquired, developed, conditioned taste and approval - why then? Is it all fitting in - because you'd have to say, it does take some acclimatisation to appreciate. Is it all for effect - the results; or a bit of both? Or the perception of adulthood, sophistication, or manly shit. I suppose there's escape, too.

A level playing field, from the outset, never having experienced things like beer, wine, or spirits, how many would, now, choose them purely on taste - and still choose them, if they didn't actually have alcohol in - ie choose them purely on taste. That's a different question as to whether people would still drink these low / no alcohol version, currently having a taste for beer or wine, but starting from a blank sheet.

I suppose I'm trying to boil it down to it's basics - some of it is coloured by my perspective on not buying into this acquired taste thing - that you have to learn to appreciate something (be it food, drink, art, whatever...) - because I think when you do that, it's for others as opposed to purely driven from within. Is it all for fitting in, is it all because of the effects of alcohol, because it can't be from the outset that everybody is purely doing it because they taste nice - or can it? Yes, I get there's the odd few drinks that don't taste like piss-warm-chango, that are reasonably pleasant from the outset, but don't appear to be much of a factor.

So - for those that enjoy beer, wines, and spirits - was it an acquired, conditioned taste, in which case, what was the motivation? Fitting in, being "a man" / looking grown-up, for the effects, narcisstic self-destruction, or because you did truly enjoy it right from the outset - go on - splurge, I'm interested. Sincerely, I'm genuinely interested about how people got from A->D with it, 'cos I've had the odd occasional conversation with somebody bending my ear about some unusual beer they've had at some kind of beer festival, as if it's some kind of nectar, yet when I've tried them I'm looking for the hidden camera / spitoon.

I suppose there's some analogies with smoking - in that people probably aren't drawn to it initially because of enjoying it straight from the outset, there's a fair degree of image and motivation to try and get over the initial distaste or unpleasantness.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:29 pm 
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I started drinking wine with meals, my folks being in the hotel trade it was the done thing. By fifteen I was nicking substantial amounts from the bar and my folks well stocked drinks cabinet.

Never looked back.

Alcoholic drinks can be rather tasty.

Moniack Mead is excellent on a cold winter's night.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:45 pm 
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highlandsflyer wrote:
I started drinking wine with meals, my folks being in the hotel trade it was the done thing. By fifteen I was nicking substantial amounts from the bar and my folks well stocked drinks cabinet.

Never looked back.

Alcoholic drinks can be rather tasty.

Moniack Mead is excellent on a cold winter's night.


Mead! I learn't long, long ago that you could take Mead to a party, leave it wherever, and it would remain untouched. Even a couple of fag butts rammed down the neck wouldn't impair the taste, and birds loved the earthy nature of it all. Have a bottle of grappa on reserve and you were sorted!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:48 pm 
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There's more to it than just taste, it's a combination of a few things - the perceived and anticipated change in mood, the social aspect etc.

I was at a wedding a while ago at a very nice hotel in Scotland which had £10k of whisky behind the bar, I couldn't convince the barman it all, bar none, tasted like crap. I like whisky but not for the taste, an extreme example but why else would you drink something that tastes so deeply unpleasant?!?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:05 pm 
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rosstheboss wrote:
There's more to it than just taste, it's a combination of a few things - the perceived and anticipated change in mood, the social aspect etc.

I was at a wedding a while ago at a very nice hotel in Scotland which had £10k of whisky behind the bar, I couldn't convince the barman it all, bar none, tasted like crap. I like whisky but not for the taste, an extreme example but why else would you drink something that tastes so deeply unpleasant?!?

I bet he loved you...


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:31 pm 
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rosstheboss wrote:
There's more to it than just taste, it's a combination of a few things - the perceived and anticipated change in mood, the social aspect etc.

I was at a wedding a while ago at a very nice hotel in Scotland which had £10k of whisky behind the bar, I couldn't convince the barman it all, bar none, tasted like crap. I like whisky but not for the taste, an extreme example but why else would you drink something that tastes so deeply unpleasant?!?



It is not the barman's or the Whisky's fault that your palate is so insensitive that you seem to think they all taste the same, there are a multitude of nuances and subtle flavours in Whisky as there are in real ale, it is just a question of weather or not you are capable of differentiating. Although this sounds like a criticism it is just a fact of life unfortunately. As you may have guessed I like a drink a REAL drink, real ale, real malt whisky, and pure forms of bier and spirits, I freely experiment by trying as many different varieties as I can, hate some, like some, love others, just a case of trial and error really. Now this may make me sound like an absolute pi55 head, I had 4 pints on Sunday night 1 at lunch today, that is it for this week probably and for 6 weeks before that I only had the odd Shandy, also for the record the most foul and obnoxious drink I have ever tasted is................................................ LUCOZADE :!: :!: :!:

As for the OP's question it is almost impossible for you to answer your sons question because we all have our own perceptions of taste best thing is just to give him some to try and make his own mind up.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:31 pm 
retrobike rider
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It was a debate in good taste, as I say I like whisky but does it taste nice, like strawberries or ice cream? No it doesn't! He also gave me lots of whisky to try and change my mind...


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:36 pm 
retrobike rider
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Kermit, I've spent years of my life working and running bars and pubs and have tried and enjoy lots of different drinks certainly including ale and whisky. I can tell the differences between all sorts of different whisky, peaty Irish or scotch etc, I just don't like the taste but I do like the drink! Sounds weird but its true, which goes back to the OP, does booze actually taste nice? Quite often no, but we still like it....


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:44 pm 
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When I started drinking, beer & ale tasted nice to me in the same way that decent vegetables can taste nice. If I went out for a meal, I wouldn't want to have 3 or 4 courses of cake. I hope that makes sense?

As far as single malt goes, the only ones I can really appreciate are too expensive for me to buy (by the bottle anyway).


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:47 pm 
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I only drink alcohol I enjoy drinking. I've never drank anything purely for the experience of getting drunk.

So my preferred drinks are Guinness and red wine. I enjoy a few ales, mainly IPA. Hot days I enjoy a cold white wine or a lager.

Don't drink spirits really apart from a good quality light rum, Diplomatico being a real favourite, straight, no ice. Rums are like whisky in that the age, etc is the thing. I love a White Russian but generally avoid vodka as I know from bitter experience it makes me into an argumentative unpleasant drunk that I don't like.

Whisky? Disgusting stuff I have to say. Or rather, disgusting to me, and I'm glad of that. My dad was the classic nasty drunk when he drank whisky, and I've known a few others like that. Nice people and great fun even when they are drunk but for some reason whisky makes them a different person, I don't want to be that person.


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