First Loves and Geographic Separation

I’m in and around Baltimore, Maryland this week. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but if I haven’t, I lived in Baltimore (Hampden!) for about six months, and I lived in the area for a little over three years. Thus, whenever Bill has a conference in the area, I tag along to visit everyone and everything1.

Or almost everything. The last time or two we’ve come, I’ve missed visiting one place. I realized I have a solid chance of missing the same place, but I really hope I don’t. It’s my first beer love, DuClaw Brewing.

When I lived in this area, I largely didn’t drink. I didn’t like the taste of anything containing alcohol, and didn’t usually feel inclined to try anything alcoholic anyway2. Occasionally I’d get a frozen strawberry daiquiri just to fit in at times, but I rarely finished it.

DuClaw didn’t change my taste for booze. Five’s chocolate martinis did that. DuClaw did something far more important. DuClaw wrote a description of a beer that made me want to taste it, despite the fact that it was beer.

That first “interesting sounding” beer was Duclaw’s Naked Fish. Their description uses words like “chocolate”, “coffee”, and “raspberry”. I was deeply fascinated. I couldn’t fathom how beer could taste like those things, but I wanted to know.

Ironically, I hated it. I should have expected as much. I didn’t (and still don’t) like raspberry flavors. I didn’t like coffee flavors (though I now LOVE coffee beer – go figure). The only tasty word in that description was “chocolate”…

However, in that same visit, I also tried their Bad Moon Porter. Which tasted a bit like chocolate. Which was tasty. I’d finally found a beer I could stomach. And not only could I stomach it, I was happy to order it when our friend Ben suggested DuClaw for dinner. I actively wanted a (specific) beer.

Five made alcohol palatable. DuClaw made it interesting.

So, basically, DuClaw. I’m a fan. Sure, Goose Island Clybourn, as basically everyone knows, was my teacher and has been, thus far, the biggest influence on my beer tastes. But DuClaw planted the seed & thus is the root of why I have found myself a beer nerd, albeit new on the scene. I don’t know if I’ll still love Bad Moon Porter at this point, but sentimentality has me wanting to find out.

What about you guys? What was your first beer love? What drew you to it? (And if your first beer love was Bud Light or similar, tell me that. I want to know.) If you’re geographically separated from it, do you find yourself seeking it out again when you’re back in the area?

I asked the last question on on Twitter, and I’m curious what my readers have to say too, so I hope you’ll let me know. I mean, after all, what you tell me may lead me to my next favorite beer, at least briefly.

fn1. Except my favorite restaurant and favorite store from my old neighborhood. Grill Art & HoneyBee Haven, I will never forget you guys!

fn2. Occasionally, it amazes me that Angelique is my friend. I can’t tell you how many times I snubbed her and her husband’s homebrew.