Megan McCardle just posted a delightfully insightful article called “Keep Calm and Put Down the Sriracha.” It’s worth your time to quickly read through. Her thesis in a nutshell:
But somewhere along the way, too many people seem to have gotten the idea that if exotic foods are good, that must mean that the boring old domestic varieties are bad.
This echoes much written recently in the beer blogosphere with the glut of reactions to the Jim Koch profile that echo his lament about mouth-assaulting IPAs and the demand for novelty at the expense of, say, baseline and accessible quality. McCardle points out It’s not just a beer thing, it’s very much a gastronomic shift of sorts. To boot,
I’m not saying that you have to like every available food. I dislike tripe, most cooked fish, liver and kale. But that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with foie gras or salmon mousse; it just means that I don’t care for them. Almost anything I do like, however, is as good prepared simply as it is in your triple-braised habanero short rib stew. Complicated dishes highlight the interplay of ingredients, but basic recipes allow your ingredients to shine. And without all that capsaicin numbing your taste buds or salted caramel overwhelming your palate, you can taste their full, delicate flavor. [emphasis added]
Let me re-rewite one sentence of that paragraph: “Almost any [beer] I do like, however, is as good prepared simply as it is in your triple-[dry hopped] habanero [imperial stout]. Complicated dishes highlight the interplay of ingredients, but basic recipes allow your ingredients to shine.”
And I’d say there’s absolutely no need to rewrite the bold sentences to pertain to beer.
One last parody of her final paragraph:
To get the most out of [drinking beer], you should be prepared to like as many [beers] as possible, including the old favorites that now seem a bit passe. You can broaden your horizons to enjoy the deliciously [bold and adventurous beers] of the [West Coast] and [more esoteric Belgian-inspired beers] without looking down on the equally delicious [classic] marvels that are right there at your feet. [Pilsner], [pale ale] and, yes, [boring brown bitters] have just as much place in our culinary canon as [double dry-hopped/barrel-aged/hopback/etc. beer].