Individual Variety

I no longer buy six-packs of beer.  This is admittedly an odd sentence with which to begin a post on a blog focused on drinking, but it is a true statement nonetheless.  I have a difficult time remembering the last time I bought a six-pack, never mind a full case of beer.  I’ll pick up a variety of different beers, but usually not more than one of each.  I realized this fact this past weekend; in my shopping cart were a bottle of beer from Belgium, one from Germany, one from India, and two American microbrews.

How did I come to prefer individual bottles instead of a traditional six-pack?  My search for an answer led to reflection on my drinking preferences and tastes.  The explanation was simple: variety.

Variety goes far in understanding my drinking practices and habit.  Having a selection of beer on hand – rather than a six or twelve pack of one kind – allows drinking based on spontaneity, mood, even weather; this makes for a more deliberate and enjoyable experience than robotically cracking open another one of the same.  Variety also quickly expands a drinker’s knowledge, allowing one to better define and understand their own likes and dislikes.  Variety introduces you to brews and tastes completely unknown and untested.  Only after tasting beer you don’t enjoy can you make an informed decision based on that experience.  Your taste is further refined.

An important note: the definition of a “single” has changed dramatically in recent years.  The term used to connote oversized cans of malt liquor purchased by those destitute souls who could afford only one.  Today however, discerning and curious drinkers more comfortable in life may use the term in reference to a multitude of rare and exotic brews.  In many instances, imported beer is more commonly sold by the bottle than in a pack.

The beer industry and specialty groceries have been quick to understand the preferences of drinkers like me, selling seasonal, themed, or “Best of” packs featuring a number of different brews sold together.  These variety packs are wonderful vehicles with which to expand a novice drinker’s universe.  More adventurous drinkers will appreciate that many high-end supermarkets sell a multitude of singles.  Oftentimes these stores instruct consumers to “create your own six-pack” by mixing varieties of imported and specialty brews.  Shopping these usually small sections is an excellent method to discover new breweries and varieties without committing to a six-pack or dropping too much cash.  Don’t like one of your choices?  No big loss – you can dump out your glass and not worry about being stuck with five more.

I’ll keep buying singles and will continue expanding my breadth of knowledge.  With so many breweries around the world producing so many different brews, how could I not want to try them all?  For me, a six-pack requires too much commitment.  Because even when I was little, the variety pack of single-serving cereal boxes was always better than the one large box, even if that large box was my favorite.

Published in: on January 18, 2011 at 10:54 pm  Comments (1)  
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One Comment

  1. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one that has experienced this! Ever since starting our blog, I have been on a quest to try as many different beers as possible (the same is true of whisky). Although it can be a bit more expensive, I agree with you 100% about the variety aspect, and I feel that spending a few extra dollars to buy just one bottle rather a whole six-pack is well worth the money. The mixed six is the beer equivalent of a cocktail party. There is plenty to sample, and if you don’t like what you just ate, it’s no big deal because it wasn’t an entire entree, and you can just move on to something else. I guess you can say that I “suffer” from Gastronomic ADHD. 🙂


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