In keeping with my ever-so-slightly obsessive compulsive tendencies, there was no chance I could let the first beer on this blog be chosen at random.
Order must be maintained at all times and, as such, my first post takes me back to the moment I realised this drinking lark would become more obsession than hobby. I knew if I wasn't going to turn pro, I'd at least reach the level of top-ranked amateur. It was also the moment I realised the large majority of the population are tasteless liars but more on that later.
As a young man of Irish heritage, I was told Guinness would be my tipple of choice. There was no debating the matter - when your given name is Connor Joseph Murphy, there really is only one option unless you want to risk the considerable wrath of the entire Irish population. So, when my grandpa bought me my first pint of the black stuff, I choked it down with a combination of fear and pride, resigned to the fact it would never get any better than this.
The older I got, the more secure I felt in my 'decision'. It turned out the more I drank, the more accustomed I became to the initially unpalatable, bitter taste. It also became clear that drinking Guinness drew the admiration of my fellow pub-goers. 'It's good stuff...' all manner of bar-dwelling crusties told me, 'but you have to taste a pint in Ireland'.
All manner of reasons were given by casual beer experts for the mythical qualities of this Irish Guinness, from different breweries to cleaner pipes, but my tastebuds seemed to suggest a different reality. Occasionally I could discern a slight difference in quality but, ultimately, it was the same generic stout as its English equivalent.
I felt betrayed and disillusioned, having relied so heavily on the words of wisdom from fellow drinkers. As a naïve teenager, I had resigned myself to a life of mass-produced rubbish until my dad handed me a bottle of Foreign Extra.
The difference was stunning. Here was a beer with depth, which combined the rich sweetness of molasses or prunes with sharp coffee and toasted malt, finishing with a slight smokiness and satisfying bitterness. It was a moment of instant realisation - if Guinness can make something like this, there has to be even better stuff out there.
And so the quest started.