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As a relatively young guy (at the ripe age of 26), I can tell you that my beer experience has been a little different then the scenarios you old guys (hehe, couldn't help myself) are talking about.
Personally, my curiosity about beer and drinking in general really started to come about when I was 17. Being the youngest in my family, I was restricted to sitting and listening as my brother (who had just turned 19) and my father (now excited to have a new drinking buddy) explored the world of beer together. Now that I look back, I admit that my father and brother didn't know all that much about beer and in fact had pretty unadventurous tastes. At the time though, they seemed like beer gurus to me. They would pick up about 12 pairs of imported beers twice a month, usually German or Polish lagers, and drink and discuss them. And I would listen.
After about 2 years of drinking just about every imported lager the LCBO had to offer, the fun in discussing the same beers over and over wore off and they began discussing other things that I would come to understand in time. By the time that I turned 19 my father and brother began to buy the BMC stand-byes again.
Now don't get me wrong, they were happy to have another drinking buddy, and my first few years of legal beer drinking were a lot of fun. However, after drinking the Blue, Bud, Miller, and Coors, that we often had around the house, I never could pick out the flavors that my father and brother had discussed years before. So I started going out and started buying imports. WOW, what a difference!
They were awesome! I began to bring home the brands that my father and brother had drank before, but I soon found out that Carlsberg was my favorite, and that would end up being the beer I would drink almost exclusively in college. However, every now and then my Dad would pick up one of the old imports and drink it with me and I would try to restart the old conversations that remember him and my brother having back when I was 17. They never lasted long. The subject matter was stale, and I didn't really feel like replaying a broken record.
And truthfully, after moving towns for school, drinking Carlsberg for 2 years in college got to be pretty boring for me too. Still fueled by my, now solo, interest in beer however; I was able to pursue my own tastes, my own curiosities, and by the time I was 23 I was into all sorts of beers. Bocks, Dunkles, Pale Ales, and Stouts, and I was more-or-less loving them all. Sometimes you need to drink a few duds so that you can really appreciate a good beer when you find one.
My family's tastes in beer still haven't changed that much, and I don't mind it either. Beer has kind of become my thing, and that's the way I like it. In a lot of ways, that is why I got into homebrewing. I already had a good grasp of the different types of styles after drinking them for a while, but in order to further my understanding of beer I found that I needed to get deeper, I needed to learn more about the ingredients, the different yeasts and grains etc.
And that's where I am now. Got me a SWMBO who supports my hobby and got a many an all grain batch under my belt. So far I must say I have really enjoyed the journey.
In closing, getting back to the OP, I would say that for most people craft beer is a cyclic thing. The fad comes and goes about once every 5-7 years. Right now, we are in the thick of it; and in fact, the craft beer market is beginning to get saturated. Unless the whole world stops buying BMC, it will soon become impossible to support every micro-brewery that is popping up. Not that I mind the variety, I think its great. But even I am feeling the pangs of guilt when I buy one craft beer over another at the LCBO with out having the finances to buy both.
Fermenter 1 - Vienna /Saaz SMaSH
Fermenter 2 - Dry as a bone
Drinking - various craft brews, Tiny Bottom PA
Beer styles I'm trying to nail down: APA, Porter, Mild, Amber, & Something Yellow and Fizzy.