30 days: V

Today’s prompt challenges the blogger to touch on the experience of being an outsider looking in. I dislike that this is a temptation to be narcissistic given that outsiders are generally valued as somehow special, but there are two things that come to mind.

First, like I mentioned in Day I, I grew up in a variety of countries whilst cultivating a love for hardcore music, and at least in the early-2000s, there wasn’t much love for it outside of fairly developed nations that I didn’t live in. So, in good DIY fashion we got together with friends and made our own utterly awful bands and concerts, but it was lots of good fun. In tribute and in the thematic spirit, I offer what would probably be called by own ninth grade anthem: Stretch Arm Strong’s “Outside Looking In.”

Then once you have the tune, watch the live version played as hardcore should be in a dingy, dark VFW hall, and let the chills run up your spine.

Anyway, bringing this around to the usual topic of this blog, I was a latecomer to beer. I didn’t really start appreciating it until after graduating college, and didn’t start brewing for a year after that. And then I moved to Bolivia, which offers little by way of variety and beer-tasting/educating opportunities.

I mostly have the ingredients I need to brew a wide variety of beer styles here, but the fact is that I haven’t actually tasted commercial versions of a a lot of those styles. Take dubbel, for instance. I relied on the taste buds of brewer friend and fellow expat Ben O. to confirm that I was on the right track. The first (and only) commercial dubbel I have ever tried was La Trappe’s version, two weeks ago! Pathetic on some levels, I know, but I’m happy to say that my go-to recipes appear to nail it pretty well.

I still haven’t actually tried a commercial “wild” beer, but I do have a Chilean brewery Szot’s Wild Ale sitting in my fridge awaiting a tasting, along with, you know, two wild beers in fermenters right now and two carbonating. Based on what I’ve read, I think I’m on the right track. But, when it comes down to it, I’m ever so thankful for all those other bloggers out there who write about various beer style histories and profiles, so that I have some idea what to look and aim for.

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