What we enjoy in life helps to add character to who we are. For me, a place becomes more tolerable when it has a decent beer selection. When I say place, I can mean anything from a gas station to a restaurant to a town.
For example, we were going to a business dinner one night at a Mediterranean restaurant (Sahara in Michigan City). I figured I would probably be drinking water there because they more than likely were not going to have anything except American Lager. I was suprised to find Rogue Mocha Porter and Bell's Two-Hearted Ale there. The dinner was great, of course, but the beer selection made it even better to me.
When I travel to see my folks in a small town in southwestern Missouri, I know there's not going to be a lot going on. It's nice that way, because really, I am there just to see them. However, at the end of the 8-hour drive I know that I'm going to be able to go into my Dad's fridge and find a variety of New Belgium and Boulevard beers there.
Before coming up for Thanksgiving, my Dad said they had loaded their old treadmill into the back of the truck and he was wondering what else they could bring. I told him I wanted some New Belgium 1554 and anything else he wanted to bring. He ended up bringing me some New Belgium Tripel.
I thought that a Trippel was a Trippel. Then I remembered over the Labor Day weekend, I had two really good Trippels at a friend's house in Illinois, and one average Trippel. La Fin Du Monde and Victory's Golden Monkey rate up there with a nice flavor, and a decent alcohol kick. I have to say the New Belgium Trippel was just okay. Not as strong as the two mentioned, and not as spicy as say the Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale or Flying Dog Kerebos versions I had in Illinois.
Also, that yeast that they use I suppose I've gotten used to, but the harsh bite of dirt is there with the first drink. I can't describe this any other way. Can I say "Earthy?" Mayhap that will do.
Still, it kills me that the old man can buy cases of New Belgium beers at his local Sam's Club. I guess I shouldn't complain, I can get 4 kinds of Three Floyd's at my local Jewel grocery store.