It has become somewhat of an obsession in the last couple years to always try the new beer. I'm just as guilty as anyone else. When I walk into a bar or a restaurant I usually check first to see if there's anything on the beer list that I haven't had yet. Do they have that new IPA? Or the new Imperial Stout? Or the New England IPA that just dropped? What about the 400 other IPA's that just came out. Seriously, do breweries release anything else anymore?
There's nothing wrong with trying something new, in fact it's enormously important to branch out, but I fear we have left out an important section of beer in our quest for the next best thing: The existing best thing. Before New England IPAs, before Bourbon Aged Imperial Stouts, before the whole craft beer thing started collapsing under the weight of the hubris of it's own fans, there were pioneers and imports.
A few weeks ago someone gave me a bottle of Fuller's ESB. A not terribly exciting style from a British brewery that's been around so long that people don't even consider it. As I drank it I became acutely aware of two things: 1) This beer is absolutely incredible and 2) I've probably passed this beer hundreds of times without even giving it a second glance and that was stupid.
How many times have I glossed over a beer because I've had it before or because it wasn't exciting enough? Too many. So next time you find yourself in the grocery store or a bottle shop, or a bar, reach for something you haven't had in a while or a brand you might not have before. Grab that Celis White or the Fat Tire you forgot existed. I think you'll be glad you did.