As a kid, you learn to associate experiences through repeating things other people say when they appear to be having the same experiences, learning the language of taste is the same way. I came to craft beer through a fortunate, but backdoor-y, series of events. I was covering craft beer as a general assignment reporter about a decade ago. Both because the brewers of the day were trying to communicate to other people through my stories and because I really appreciated beer, I was able to learn the language of beer relatively quickly. Language is everything. When someone is drinking the same beer you are and talking you through the tastes long enough, you start to get your own sense of how to take that information and apply it to other beers.
While I was learning how to distinguish coriander in a beer, Suzanne Wolcott was already brewing her first beers. A cheesemonger by trade, Wolcott had begun making a name for herself in the slow food artisan movement. As she went from specialty store to niche boutique selling her cheese she also ingratiated herself into the larger world of artisan food and organic production. Speaking with her, it is clear to see not only that she knows what she’s talking about, but that she can be direct without giving offense, like a well-respected professor.
After a stint as a buyer for Whole Foods, Wolcott was brought on at Goose Island Brewing as a Food Specialist.
You don’t have to pretend with craft beer
As craft beer rocketed to popularity, it was well enough for many of the new adherents to begin to understand the language of beer, but there was another step involved in the long term. Craft beer had a