It happens to me every so often with music. I feel like I've exhausted my itunes library. Despite the few thousand songs in it, nothing feels fresh and new. I begin to wonder if music will really progress any further. Will any new bands come on the scene that don't differ much from the hundreds already in existence in the same genre? Now that it has happened to me a number of times I know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Take Bon Iver for example. The chords have all been used before, maybe a hundred zillion times in the exact same progression. However, Justin Vernon's airy, falsetto, northwoods Wisconsin voice has never before layered on top of them. This is different enough that it is, in fact, delightfully unfamiliar. It stays with you throughout the day, still lingering as your head hits the pillow and you turn in for the night. I enjoy that. It is just what I need sometimes.
Lately I've felt like I've hit one of these stalemates with beer. I love a bold amber or a hoppy IPA as much as anyone. I've tried dozens by now. I'm beginning to lose my sense of being able to distinguish one from the other. Sure, I can tell you if I think one is far inferior than another, but give me two, quality made ambers and a week later all I could tell you is that I liked it. Rogue American Amber or Deschutes Red Cone? Both were delicious is what I'd say.
It seems that California, perhaps all of the west coast, is infatuated with IPA's. Today I stopped by a small, local grocer in Ocean Beach that carries a fine selection of craft beers and belgian ales. An entire fridge was full of 22 oz bombers of different IPA's or Double IPA's. I decided not to bark up that tree. I imagine that if I did, however, and grabbed a couple to try, I would scarcely find much variety. Hops are an overwhelming flavor. You've got to keep the reigns tight on those guys, lest they get away and overpower a beer.
So today I decided to venture out. Right there in the store I made up my mind to explore what left I have to explore. I'm no Magellan. He sailed around the world. Today my ship only made it to Maui where it docked and found Maui Brewing Company's Coconut Porter. It's a robust porter brewed with six varieties of malted barley, hops, and hand-toasted coconut. I enjoyed it. It was just what I needed. -nhc