Saturday, January 23, 2010


Why is it when I tell someone no thanks, I don't like beer, s/he inevitably tells me that I should either try this extra special super duper local brewery beer or that I should just drink it until I learn to like it.

I want to say, I'm closing 50 this year, do you really think I haven't tried more than one beer, and figured out that I don't like them, despite what beer lovers say?

And even more I want to ask: it tastes BAD to me; why would I want to learn to like it?

It's hard to imagine anyone since the discovery of sugar saying, "just try to eat more of this chocolate and you'll learn to like it." It's hard to imagine those words being said, isn't it? Or, "oh, if only you tried this other chocolate, you would like that."

That's because (with a little help from our friend sugar) chocolate tastes good. Beer, to me, does not.

It's not like I'm in someone's face telling them they can't drink beer or whatever; simply my statement that I don't want any makes people want to convince me to drink it.

No one ever needed to convince me to drink hot cocoa.

Why do beer drinkers feel the need to evangelize? What does it mean that people go out of their way to learn to drink something that tastes bad to them when they first drink it?


  1. I know what you mean! I don't like beer either, and whenever I decline it, they stare at me like I'm crazy.

  2. I realize this is obnoxious, having been on the other side of it. The thinking goes something like this:

    "I used to think all beer tasted awful, until I learned to try different beers and find out which ones I like. Now I really enjoy good beer, especially . If I had never acquired a taste for beer, I would be missing out on the enjoyment I get from drinking . That would be sad. Maybe Bardiac doesn't know that beer really can be very enjoyable if you push through the initial distaste (and for goodness sake, drink the good stuff). After all, I didn't know that for years until I finally tried."

    Now, obviously, your position is 100% logical. Why should you do "work" to learn to like something you never have liked and don't really want to like? Well, if you don't want to, you shouldn't.

    But some people will either assume or suspect the possibility that you are limiting your experience out of ignorance, and that you are missing out on the pleasure of the wonderful world of beer, kind of like a kid who won't eat anything but chicken fingers and fries is missing out on the wonderful world of food.

    This is different from saying that everyone should like beer, and that there is something wrong with you if you don't like beer, but it can sound obnoxiously similar in the way it is commonly expressed. If that makes sense.

  3. "Hey, you want a beer?"

    "Nope. It makes me super gassy."

    Conversation over.

  4. I also don't like beer, but the thing that people regularly try to get me to drink is coffee, which I also don't like. And I think, as human said above, that folks who love coffee just love it SO MUCH that they feel genuinely sorry for me that I'm missing out on one of the great things in life. And yet, I've tried it many times, and it's just not working for me.

  5. Anonymous6:13 AM

    I don't really like the taste of beer, either. Or wine! And it's so bizarre to people, for some reason, when I ask for a Diet Coke instead. But they're usually very happy when it comes time for the ride home and there I am available for the job in all my legal-driverness state. *eye roll*

    JH: LMAO.

  6. I think human got it in one. To expand a bit:

    When people tell me they don't like beer, I take them at their word (hey, more for me!), but I can see some valid reasons why one wouldn't. The thing about beer is that a) it's an acquired taste for nearly everyone, unlike chocolate; and b) it comes in an almost infinite number of varieties, but most people's first experience is with the very cheap, very bad stuff. (Arguably, both of these things are also true of coffee, although I find store-brand coffee a lot more drinkable than Miller Lite.) Anyway, I think it's this combination of circumstances that turns people into evangelists.

    I mean, if Person A tells Person B he doesn't like cheese, but B thinks (correctly or not) that A has only had Kraft Singles, you can see why B might think he's doing A a favor by convincing him to try the Brie and the Asiago and the feta, right? Same principle with beer.

    (Now, I'd assume that a 50-year-old had tried a few other varieties in his or her life, which is one of the reasons I don't evangelize about either cheese or beer, but I can understand where the temptation comes from.)

  7. my sister hates carbonated drinks of all kinds, always has. so for her, people are always trying to get her to drink sodas, too, and they will not believe that she simply does not do that.

  8. I don't really care what other people drink, but I will say this: I like the taste of (good) beer way more than chocolate. WAY more. And good quality chocolate (i.e. not overloaded with sugar and milk, as, say, Hershey's is) is also an acquired taste--try giving a 6 year old kid chocolate made with 70% cocoa, and watch the reaction.

    And I agree with What Now?: coffee drinkers are way more evangelistic than beer drinkers, and I think coffee is vile.

  9. I only know one person who doesn't like chocolate, but I sure know a lot of people who don't care for beer. :-)

  10. Yeah... I was 30 years old before I got clued in that all beer does not taste like Miller Lite. I realize I am an outlier, but still!

  11. Anonymous10:23 AM

    Totally. And where we live it's particularly bad (northwest, or land of the microbrews *and* Microsoft.)

    Over the break my uncle asked my partner if he wanted a beer. My partner said No Thanks, I'm fine.

    My uncle left and got him a beer. Demntia? No. Beer drinker.

  12. I've gotten to like the taste of beer, but I see no reason everyone else should! I can see why it would be better NOT to like it, in fact.

  13. I think you folks are right about beer-enjoyers wanting to share the goodness.

    And good point about coffee drinkers. I've probably been a coffee evangelist on more than one occasion.

    True story: when I was really little (as in, drinking from a bottle), I got a couple urinary tract infections, so my Mom was supposed to get me to drink a lot. But, as usual, I was uncooperative. So she got me to drink my milk better by putting a teaspoon or two of her coffee into my bottle of milk. (She drank instant, being of that generation when instant was a godsend, with milk and sugar.) And I loved it. I'm not really sure I could taste the coffee, even, but maybe it made me feel special? Or added a little sweetness?

    When I was teething, supposedly, she would rub a few drops of bourbon on my gums to numb them a tad. If she'd rubbed beer, I'd probably have developed a taste for that, instead, eh?

    It was the 60s! I'm sure I'm not the only kid who got the bourbon treatment for teething.

  14. I agree with the previous commenters. First, if someone doesn't like anything, then bugger off and don't try to record a conversion.

    Second, the evangelizing is probably based on the (silly) assumption that we're all only exposed to the standard mass-produced American beer, all your international travel and presumptive hobnobbing with beer cognoscenti, rife in humanities departments, notwithstanding. And they probably can't fathom that anyone would dislike proper beer while readily understanding the disgust for Bud, Miller, etc.

    I have this unfortunate tendency when people say they don't like fruitcake to observe that I don't like those gummy logs that get mailed out by the millions either but that certain homemade blah blah blah...shutup....

  15. Bardiac - In the 70s, I know both of my grandmothers treated my teething with bourbon/whiskey on the gums. And my pediatrician, after I got a kidney infection (repeated kidney infections?) actually prescribed that my mother allow me to drink coffee with lots of milk, so I've been drinking coffee since I was about 4 years old. You are not alone.

    Do you find that if you offer another beverage of your preference that people still do the beer evangelizing? I know that with my friends who don't like coffee I don't understand it, but if I say, "would you like coffee?" and somebody says, "oh, I'd actually like hot chocolate (or tea, or whatever)" that I don't even blink. Similarly, if I say, "hey, would you like a beer?" (and I like beer), I don't think twice if somebody says, "you know, I'd rather have a glass of wine (or soda, or water, or a mixed drink, or whatever)." Maybe it's just the, "I don't like" that people respond negatively to.

    Note: I have much more frequently been an evangelist of tomatoes, pickles, seafood, ethnic food, or eggs than I have been about any beverage, mainly because I love food of all kinds and I totally do not understand people just rejecting a kind of food (or entire food group) outright without trying varied preparations of it. Maybe because my mom forced me to taste anything that came in front of me as a kid to tell whether I "really" didn't like it? (Though if I tasted something and didn't like it, she never forced it on me in that preparation again.)

  16. Good idea about the alternative, Dr. C. It sounds like your Mom was really smart about teaching you to like foods.

  17. oh, dr. C is one of those tomato people.... i mean, they're fine cooked, and the occasional cherry tomato doesn't kill me, but i will never be a fan. and you can forget about bananas and eggplant, too.

  18. Kathy - I'm not one of those tomato people really! If you like them cooked, then you are not anti-tomato! Not really! You just don't like a raw tomato, which I respect! You are not rejecting the tomato without regard! (Which is really my problem, when people say "I don't like tomatoes.") (A dear friend of mine once described his reasoning behind hating tomatoes as that he felt like raw tomatoes were "the texture of an abortion" which I feel is a bit much, but I will say I've never tried to make him eat a raw tomato, though I have mocked him for being picky and spoiled rotten :) )

    (And I will note that while I seriously will eat nearly every food in every preparation, I am not a fan of the orange. At all. Just... ewww. And I only really like orange juice when I'm sick. And never with pulp.)

  19. I think Fretful Porpentine and Human really nail it here. I have to admit, I would probably be a beer evangelist if I wasn't naturally averse to telling people they "should" do anything.

    As I see it, the difference between different types of beer is as great (in my opinion) as the difference between coffee and coca cola. Both are caffeinated drinks, but not liking one doesn't mean you'd dislike the other. (I like the cheese analogy above too).

    While, in my opinion, light sparkly beer is an acquired taste - I never acquired it, and agree that there is no reason to keep drinking something you dislike just to acquire the taste - my first sip of a dark home-brewed beer was love at first sight (as was wheat beer).

    So when someone says they don't like beer, I don't think they should keep drinking it until they do, but I just wonder whether there are some varieties that they might like at first sip, just like cocoa.

    I mean, imagine if you had a friend who refused to try hot chocolate, because she had tasted coca cola and decided she disliked sweet caffeinated drinks? Wouldn't you suggest that she give hot chocolate a try just in case?

    But yeah, all this is hypothetical, because while I might think these things in my head, I wouldn't ever tell anyone what to eat or drink out loud.

  20. Anonymous11:22 AM

    Everyone already said it. As an example, my sister says she hates beer but she's only ever tried budweiser (her ex drank it) and you know, I hate bud and I love beer. So it isn't convincing.

    In relationship to acquiring tastes, someone brought up purer kinds of chocolate. I remember hating dark chocolate as a kid and now I love it. Same when I started drinking beer, I favored lighter, maltier beers. Now, I'm increasing drawn to really bitter beers, less malt and more hops. I have learned to appreciate bitter tastes. Same with chocolate and coffee, really. I don't take sugar in my coffee anymore and I love dark chocolate.