birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Tip of an iceberg

I do not put much trust in first impressions.

Perhaps they are so dependent on physical appearances. It might be because I do not really trust other people’s first impressions of me. Maybe I prefer to take the time to ask questions and get to know someone over time.

One of those personality inventory tests tells me I have gone from being the kind of person who makes their mind up quickly to being someone who wants to perceive as much as they can before forming an opinion.

My legal training encourages me to build a solid case on clear evidence, not jump to first impressions too quickly. I want to spend some time listening and gathering clues before I decide what I think or feel.

Each month I write a column for an online magazine about craft beer and brewing. I get to visit quite a few breweries and tasting rooms and taste a wide variety of beers. While I have some clear opinions about what beers I most enjoy, I try as many brews as I can on each visit.

It is important for me to be as open as I can be to experiencing the various flavors each brewery produces. I want to be able to write about different styles of beer.

Even though I think I already know what I like, there is always the possibility of surprise. A new brewery I have not visited before may bring something I enjoy out of a kind of beer I think I do not really like. Tasting craft beer is best done with a sense of exploration and discovery, and it is essential to keep an open mind.

Each beer has several opportunities to make an impression. I look to find its visual characteristics and take in the aroma before I taste it. There is the initial flavor which hits your tongue and the way it feels in your mouth. Many beers have new aspects which emerge as you hold them in you r mouth for a minute or two. There is also often a distinct aftertaste which comes when you swallow. Beer also can be complemented with food flavors which affect your impression of how the beer tastes.

The first impression is only the very tip of the iceberg, and not the most reliable on which to form an opinion.


Please Rate Your Pain