WHY DRINK CRAFT BEER?
I’m in the writing mood tonight, 1:30 AM, feeling mildly restless with a desire to share some of my thoughts with the keyboard and a blank word document. Normally I would delve into a short story but my ideas are lacking and the cusps of my eyelids accumulating weight like a tree branch in a snow storm. So I figured I would step out of my normal daily blog routine of beer reviews for a night, and hash out a little commentary about why I do this in the first place.
For me it starts with a simple idea: beer is not just a beverage, beer is art.
From the its naming, to the label, to the brewing, to the bottling, hell even the pour: every element of what takes a bag of barley and hops, some water, and yeast, and brings it to your glass is about so much more than a factory line and a super-bowl advertisement. Instead it’s about creativity, passion, determination, and a love for brewing, drinking, and more importantly sharing beer. When I look at a brand new bottle, pop that cap like a baseball fan at opening day, and allow the sudsy gold, amber, nut brown, or black as night liquid to fill my glass, I see the clouds of foam rise, fall, and breathe like a living representation of its crafters. Each new beer is more than an experience it is an adventure: a mystery. After all who knows what that first sip will offer? No two beers are the same, and every brew is a learning experience for its consumer.
However my questionably alcoholic obsession with the heavenly hop and beloved barley beverage is more than a simple appreciation of art. I like art but I do not love it, and yet I love beer. So why do I absolutely adore the almighty ale? Because beer is not just about the look, feel, smell, or taste of that perfect pint, and it’s certainly not just about getting a little too tipsy:
Beer is about people.
Beer is about the memories that it has the power to create. When I think about Westvleteren 12 I don’t think caramel, fig, raison, toffee, and vanilla. I think about that three hour walk through the beautiful streets of Stockholm with my uncle, desperately searching for any bottle we could get our hands on.
When I think about Founders KBS I don’t think buttery bourbon, I instead remember my dad calling me at 8 AM to tell me that he was waiting in front of the liquor store with my mom and grandparents to smuggle out as many bottles possible in consideration of that strict one per customer rule.
When I think about Bells Two Hearted Ale, I don’t think about those fresh citrus hops, I think about meeting a girl that has so much in common with me that it’s almost hard to believe. Seriously I don’t think I’ll be capable of ordering that beer without invoking a subtle recollecting smile for a long long time.
This is why I LOVE craft beer, because each ale carries a web of memories, experiences, and people that carry more value than any little bottle ever could in itself. For this reason I insist that the passion for beer ought not only to be experienced but shared. I’ve gotten much of my family and countless friends to appreciate the world of bold bubbly brews, and I hope if you’re reading this you will too. Because honestly craft beer brings people together, and there are few things in this world more important than that.