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Old 03-21-2011, 08:00 PM   #1
rhern053
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Default Beer Philosophy - "Good" Beer and Samuel Adams

I used to love everything that Samuel Adams made. Like many people, the beers they make were my stepping stones into the craft beer universe. But now, after having tried other beers and having made my own, I find the Samuel Adams beers to be a bit bland in comparison.

My question is:

Is there an essential level at which a beer must be to be considered "good beer," or is it all relative? I have a beer in mind that currently stands as the best beer I've had. I'm sure I will find one in the future that I think is even better. But at the moment, this beer is a 10 out of 10, just as a Samuel Adams was a while back.

We can't possibly know when we taste a beer whether it is only so many out of 10, comparing it to what we imagine the best beer would taste like. When we taste our favorite beer, it's a 10! Period. We taste empirically, and can't ever accurately place a beer in a universal spectrum of "good" or quality, simply because we've never had all the beers in the world.

This explains why at one point, when Samuel Adams was the brewery that made the best beer I'd had, I thought it to be the best and now think differently. It kind of disappoints to see this happen, like watching your favorite childhood movie and realizing it sucks.

Just my thoughts.

I guess I'm looking to see what people think of this idea that at any point in time, the best beer you've had is a 10 out of 10 simply because it's the best beer you've had, and because you couldn't predict the quality and ranking of any possible beers you may one day try.

Has anyone ever tried a beer, thought it to be the best they've ever had, yet still thought, "not a 10 out of 10, because I think there may be better?"

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Old 03-21-2011, 08:09 PM   #2
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Man that's a tough question. You've opened the whole aesthetic theory section of philosophy can of worms. Is there a platonic form of the ideal beer? I dunno man. I'd say it's all relative, though we can have ideas of what we think is the best. Whatever it is, I haven't found mine yet...

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Old 03-21-2011, 08:13 PM   #3
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the next beer is always best. because it's full and not half empty. i don't buy into that half full bull ****. call it what you want, just refill my glass

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Old 03-21-2011, 08:17 PM   #4
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I seriously hate the whole idea of making lists of top 10 picking favorites. so much depends on mood, timing, whatever. this goes for beer, music, movies, books, comics, food, etc. If you wanted me to even attempt to tell you my favorites for any of those, I think a "Top 50" would be my minimum. 'Cause #17 could be my favorite tomorrow, or in an hour.

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Old 03-21-2011, 08:35 PM   #5
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Is there an essential level at which a beer must be to be considered "good beer," or is it all relative?
It is absolutely essential that you enjoy the beer. That is all that is essential for a beer to be "good" beer.
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:44 PM   #6
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It is absolutely essential that you enjoy the beer. That is all that is essential for a beer to be "good" beer.
Any beer is good if you can taste the brewer's intentions. A beer is very good when they execute on those intentions. A beer is great when the drinker agrees with those intentions.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:00 PM   #7
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The only part I disagree with is the brewer's intentions, especially homebrewers. I've had some beers where the brewer's intentions were just plain stupid. Call me an a-hole, but most Dogfishead beers fit that bill for me.

That said, remember what I wrote: a good beer is one YOU enjoy. The person enjoying it can be anyone, and all our tastes are different. In other words, EVERY beer is good in the hands (and mouth) of the right person.

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Old 03-21-2011, 09:09 PM   #8
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I think I'd have to bring style into the discussion. I don't think I could choose my most favorite beer, but I certainly could pick my favorite porter or IPA or pale ale etc.

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Old 03-21-2011, 09:12 PM   #9
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The only part I disagree with is the brewer's intentions, especially homebrewers. I've had some beers where the brewer's intentions were just plain stupid. Call me an a-hole, but most Dogfishead beers fit that bill for me.

That said, remember what I wrote: a good beer is one YOU enjoy. The person enjoying it can be anyone, and all our tastes are different. In other words, EVERY beer is good in the hands (and mouth) of the right person.
See, I feel like I can taste a beer and know when it is good, but just not my taste. 'course there are extremes where this wouldn't be true, but I think a lot of the time I can separate my personal preferences from what makes a beer "good."
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Brooklyn-Brewtality View Post
I seriously hate the whole idea of making lists of top 10 picking favorites. so much depends on mood, timing, whatever. this goes for beer, music, movies, books, comics, food, etc. If you wanted me to even attempt to tell you my favorites for any of those, I think a "Top 50" would be my minimum. 'Cause #17 could be my favorite tomorrow, or in an hour.
+1 With food and drink, there is so much else that goes on to feeds into your perceptions and reactions. Are you relaxed, enjoying the people you're with, etc? Hard day at work? Ticked off at your kids/parents? The same beer can seem better or worse depending upon the circumstances and context.
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