Liberate Your Palate from Boredom
July 26, 2012 by Lindsey Bonadonna, Craft Beer Maven
When it comes to drinking and eating, we have a tendency to play it safe. We have our “go-to” foods and beverages that never let us down but always deliver the same predictable experience. Now for some, standbys include poutine, beef tongue tacos, hoppy rye IPAs and Belgian sours. But for many, convenience often wins over taste, which is where chicken-like nuggets, semi-meat hamburgers, and your standard light lagers find their way into our mouths.
I unexpectedly fell into the beer industry about seven years ago. Quickly, I fell in love with flavorful things and the thrill in the adventure of finding something new to try (trust me, I definitely have NOT always been that way). Naturally, when you are passionate about something, you tend to meet and surround yourself with like-minded people and I sometimes forget that we are a bold minority until I get this reaction from someone: "OH MY GOSH! I never even thought of pairing beer and food! I had NO IDEA beer could taste like that!” This always gives me a rush of excitement because I have the honor of exposing someone to a new experience and that is truly something special. Not only do I get to share something flavorful with a new (or old) friend, but I also played a part in changing their lives. They may never look at beer (or food or wine or spirits) the same and, even more importantly, they will then hopefully share their experience with their friends and family.
Now I’m not saying you need to abandon your convenience foods and beverages, or that you need to fervently extol the virtues of flavor enlightenment. But when you find yourself perusing the shelves at your local store or checking out the beer list at your favorite watering hole or restaurant, just commit to trying something new. Overwhelmed? Ask for a recommendation. And remember, when you are challenging your palate, it doesn’t always have to be something “extreme” or even something outside of your favorite beer style category, just something different.
Encourage yourself and others to try new things fearlessly. Whether it be in the world of better beer, unique food, robust wines, or hand-crafted spirits remember, the more often you try something, the more your palate will come to learn to appreciate all the different flavors. Take time for fun, new experiences. Take time to educate and advocate. Take time for flavorful adventures and be fearless. And above all, take time to inspire others to experience flavor and when it comes to food and beverage, always be original instead of ordinary.