For a long time, I thought I didn’t like beer. I tried some here and there and decided based on my limited sample set that beer was not for me. I had a co-worker who was so into beer he was brewing his own. He could wax poetic on the virtues of the many styles of beers and continued to expand his horizons.
“What kind of beer to do you like?” he asked me.
“I don’t like beer,” I replied. I was possibly a little condescending.
“Oh, I don’t believe that. You just haven’t found one you like.” He was possibly a little condescending right back.
I’ve heard that argument before and about a lot of things besides beer. I don’t like something but I just need to keep trying and I suddenly I will like it. I understand the urge to share joy, but sometimes I do resent the notion that I just have to push past my initial distaste to realize how awesome this thing is.
“Here, I’ll buy you a beer, and if you don’t like it, I won’t bug you about it again,” he said.
“Okay, sounds fair,” I agreed.
Then he started to ask me what kind of drinks I did like, alcoholic and otherwise. I of course love coffee but I also like tea and wine, particularly red wine. He took all of this into consideration and finally ordered me a commercial craft porter named after a doomed sailing vessel. I had never had a porter before (only weak lagers), and the similarity of the flavor profile to coffee and the toned down alcohol taste won me over.
So now I regularly try new beers and attend beer tastings both with friends and in commercial settings when I can. I live in a city with a huge craft brewery culture, so there’s no shortage of brews to try. I’ve gotten to the point where I find most darker beers are to my taste, and the lighter ones are hit or miss, and very hoppy ones like IPAs are almost never, ever hits. Drinking an IPA to me is like getting kicked in the palate by an angry grapefruit (hence the title). But I have friends who swear by them, and I continue to try them when I can order them as parts of flights or tasting events.
Why do I continue to flirt with hoppy disaster? Because I’ve learned that making a broad statement such as, “I don’t like beer,” is just too broad. I shouldn’t shut out an entire branch of beverage based on only a few examples, and poor ones at that. I also usually go to these tastings with friends, so if I don’t like my sample, I can trade it off. By dint of forcing myself to try new things, I’ve found a couple of double IPAs of all things that are pretty good.
“Great story,” I imagine you’re thinking, “But what does this have to do with movies, television, or books?”
It’s a metaphor for how I try to approach media. Once upon a time, I would have said, “Oh, I don’t like sci-fi.” But now I know better. I try to expand my horizons and try to watch a type of movie I typically wouldn’t watch, or try a novel in a genre I’ve never really explored, and so on. But, like with beer, if I try a particular one and it doesn’t suit me, I’m probably not going to keep trying it over and over. There’s a lot out there to try, and maybe in a while I’ll circle back around and find out if my tastes have changed. Hence why “Game of Thrones” is not for me, nor is “Gotham” or “Arrow” or pretty much anything in DC’s New 52. When it comes right down to it, I can ignore a lot of technical flaws in media I like. If a piece of media just isn’t to my taste, even technical perfection isn’t enough for me to like it and technical flaws make it just that much more unpalatable.
So like with a particular beer, I’ll try a particular piece of media, but sometimes it only takes a tasting portion for me to know I just don’t want to tangle with that angry grapefruit.