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.
This page intentionally left blank