Drinking Alone: Reflections on Being Married to a Beer Hater
What to do when not everyone loves a fridge full of IPAs.
Written by Alex Weaver
Image by Kinsley Stocum
Every so often, my wife Kerri tries one of my beers. Not because she wants to, but because I convince her it’ll be worth it. “This one is from Tree House,” I’ll say. “Widely regarded as one of the best IPAs money can buy.” She’ll take a tiny sip, like she’s testing the King’s libation for poison, before scrunching her face up and telling me it’s swill.
My wife hates beer. Or, more accurately, my wife hates the type of beer I love.
I’ve been drinking IPAs since way before drinking IPAs was cool. When I wasn’t helping a group of sweaty coeds consume a keg of Natty Lite, my college beer of choice was whatever was hoppy and bold-flavored. Not that I appreciated the nuance much back then. But still, I thought it was pretty sophisticated of me to pregame a flip cup tourney with a few Goose Island or Harpoon IPAs.
Fast forward a couple years (fine, a decade) and I still haven’t shaken my affinity for the style. This preference has only gotten more convenient for me, since IPAs are everywhere now and have come a long way in terms of creativity and flavor. I like lots of different styles of beer, but when I’m stocking my fridge at home — as I do, uh, rather often — I’m doing so with one thing and one thing only.
But back to Kerri. She doesn’t care much for beer and that’s fine with me. Except I’ve taken it as a bit of a challenge to find something she actually finds palatable, let alone enjoyable. Not because I need a drinking buddy at home (though the baby and dog aren’t much use in this regard); I just can’t fathom that in a country with more than 5,000 breweries, there’s not a single craft beer I can get her to sip without puckering her lips and telling me I’m disgusting.
It’s not her, though; it’s me.
I’m just as much to blame as she is in this “problem” I invented, and she wants nothing to do with it. What I’ve learned through my various failed attempts at forced spousal beer tastings is not that my wife doesn’t like IPAs, it’s that I should really branch out when it comes to the beers I try, too.
Would it kill me to try a saison or a sour once in awhile? Or add a couple stouts into the rotation? Of course not.
And Kerri might actually like one. Which would be great. Because I changed my mind: Having a drinking buddy at home would be pretty nice.