Drinking or Tasting?

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Maybe it is the lexical root of the word “drink” that makes us automatically think that all the drinks should be drunk and we forget the option that for some of them it is far better to be tasted instead?

You know what they say: never say never about certain things. In the past few years this sentence has come across my life several times. I would never think I would leave my secure job, have a dog or start writing a blog.

But all those things happened to me and this is the beauty of our lives: we just need to embrace what is coming up to us and playfully participate in the happenings.

It was the same with my perception about beer. I was never a beer lover. I rarely drank beer, I remember a few exceptional occasions when not ordering a beer was almost a crime. Visiting Prague or Dublin was such an example. At all other occasions I would order my glass of wine and instead of drinking huge amounts of beer in a short time for it not to get warm I was enjoying tasting my wine. I have never considered satisfying my thirst with a glass of beer a serious option. For that purpose I would drink water while tasting my wine.

I was never really thinking about this approach. Who would be anyway? There are so many other things to think about in our lives. My interest in beer started when I was researching The Lower Savinja Valley, Slovenia’s hop growing region. I found the Kukec beer named after Simon Kukec (1838 -1910), one of Slovenia’s first and most important hop growers and brewers. I found a nice package of three Kukec beer bottles, the combination of one light and two dark beers. The story of the Kukec beer is also explained on the box so I thought to myself this would make a nice present or surprise to my friends. So that’s why I bought it. At that time I wasn’t thinking of drinking it by myself.

Simon Kukec used to brew different kinds of beer: Lager, Thermal Beer, Porter, March and Bavarian beer. His beer was sold all over Slovenia and exported to other European countries as well to Egypt and India.

Remember, I’m a marketing professional by education and when the first visits came I started promoting my discovery, the Kukec beer. I was extremely proud of what I have to offer since Kukec cannot be bought at supermarkets or any other larger shops. Telling the story about that precious and relatively new beer on our market makes me wonder to taste it also by myself. So I did and it hit me! It was so good! For my taste it was not too bitter and not too sweet. But what surprised me most was the fact that I really enjoyed my beer.

And then I started thinking about this change in my perception. All of a sudden it becomes clear to me. It was a small bottle of beer (0,33l), so there was no rush of drinking it fast, instead, I enjoyed tasting it while paying attention what makes this experience different from my past memories of drinking beer. And yes, this was the difference – in the past I was always drinking or to be more precise, trying to drink,  beer and now I was tasting it. Believe it or not this made the dramatic difference for me. I suddenly realized that beer can also be tasted not just drunk.

When tasting food or drink I pay attention to many different things. I’m curious about the texture, the smell, how the taste will develop over the time; I pay attention on the aftertaste that might develop later and of course, mostly I’m paying attention to recognizing the ingredients. Is there any of them that will stand out from the others, is there  harmony in the taste or is there something dominating over.

Yes, it is the curiosity in the first place that motivates me to taste different food or drinks. Funnily, maybe the lexical root of the word “drink” makes us think that all the drinks should be drunk and we forget about the option that for some of them it is better to be tasted instead?

We eat and drink when satisfying out hunger or thirst. But when searching for experiences tasting is afar better choice. With all my gratefulness to the Kukec beer I finally realized that beer can also be tasted. And luckily for me or anybody visiting Slovenia, there are plenty of options to choose from. It is not only the hundred times mentioned traditional Kukec beer but we can also choose from a range of very innovating craft breweries springing up all over Slovenia.

Good to know, Slovenia is not just a wine, but also a beer country. From the hop growing production perspective we rank the 3rd in Europe (right after Germany and Czech Republic).

Curious or not, everybody is welcome to join me on my tasting journeys.

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