Every so often you need a mental spring cleaning. Unchanging opinions aren't strength of character. They're constipation.
Looking as firmly backwards as I mostly do, it's easy to become conservative. When I first saw this title proposal, I was pretty sure how I would approach it. Cherries, raspberries, lemons - they're OK, because there's a tradition of their use in beer. Anything else - no way.
Punk changed my ideas about music overnight. The bulk of my record collection went in the bin. It shocked me that not everyone embraced it so readily. That's being 19. You want change. At some point in your life - 25, 31, 37, 19.5 - change becomes frightening and you want it to stop. "This isn't music. It's just noise."
In the mid-1990's many of my friends were a decade or so younger. They liked dance music. Not Cuban or ballroom, but the thumpy-thumpy rave sort. "This isn't music. It's just noise." That's what I said. Repeatedly. For several years.
Then I thought: hang on, isn't what the old hippies said about punk? Rather than dismissing it, I made a conscious effort to listen to dance music with an open mind. To approach as I had done punk. My instincts were right - it was just noise. Sorry. Can't resist the bad jokes. My friends weren't just brainwashed fashion junkies. Some of this dance stuff was dead good. You couldn't get me off the dance floor.
My prejudice against electronic music was just that - stupid prejudice. What does it matter how music is made? With guitars, violins, drums, synthesisers, computers, saws, frying pans. The end result. That's what's important.
What fruit and veg should be used in beer? Any - as long as it tastes good. Nothing else matters.
The Lilliput Beer Book, 1956 - [image: Detail from the cover of The Lilliput Beer Book, 1956.] This short pamphlet given away with a men’s magazine in the 1950s is far from essential but...
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