FACT: Beer is awesome. But that’s just not a good enough reason to explain why I devote so much time to reading about, writing about, brewing, pursuing, and drinking it. So I’ve typed up a few thoughts on just why I devote so much of my free time to a simple beverage.
Beer Can Transport You
One of the greatest experiences I ever had with a beer was judging a Scottish Wee Heavy at the 2012 Delaware State Fair. It wasn’t the greatest beer I had ever tasted (I think it didn’t even place), but it had been aged in a wooden barrel and had an aroma that smelled exactly the same as the forest where, as a child, I would go with my dad every fall to cut down a tree for firewood.
The moment I smelled that beer I was back in northwest Louisiana, I was ten years old, surrounded by giant pines and hardwoods. I was near the Kisatchie National Forest, and the banks of the Dorcheet Bayou. I could smell the dampness of the autumn woods, and the decaying leaves underfoot. I could hear the logs cracking as I saw my dad, a much younger man than he is now, bring his axe down to split them into firewood.
Now every time I see a wood aged Scottish Ale I am reminded of that beer, the aroma, and the memories it evoked. I am transported back to my childhood, I am with my dad, I am in the forests of northwest Louisiana.
Beer Can Build Friendships
I have seen more friendships created over enjoying a pint of beer, or boiling a kettle of wort, than I have seen with any other activities.
I have met some incredible people because of beer. I’ve made more friends through the Annapolis Homebrew Club than any where else since moving to Maryland. I made some great friends in Texas that I met through homebrewing and working at Rahr & Sons Brewing Company. My best friends are spread across the globe, and when we get back together it’s not grabbing a cup of coffee that’s on our agenda.
How many friends have you made, or reconnected with, over a beer?
Beer is even a big part of my marriage. When Casey and I got married we met up with friends and family at the Flying Saucer in Fort Worth, Texas, and popped open a few bottles of Chimay Grande Reserve (Chimay Blue) to celebrate. We immediately followed that up with Rahr & Sons Ugly Pug as the only beer served at our reception. It was an amazing moment when Casey and I rode up to the cafe outside of Abbeye Notre-Dame de Scourmont near Chimay, Belgium. It was just a few months after our fifth anniversary, and there we shared our first Chimay Grande Reserve since our wedding. For the rest of my life Chimay Grand Reserve and Rahr Ugly Pug will always remind me of our wedding day and the incredible life that we have shared together.
Beer Can Transform and Be a Social Glue
I’ve seen beer transform neighborhoods. It’s easy to see a brewery’s impact when it’s serving free beer at the brewery while holding charity 5Ks, local concerts, and fundraising events. With hundreds of people there every weekend it doesn’t take long for other businesses, artists, charity groups, etc. to take notice. Most small breweries are only successful when they have a connection to their community, and a local brewery, a great beer bar, or even a homebrew club, can transform and strengthen the community it serves.
Here in Annapolis we no longer have any breweries, but we do have an amazing homebrew club, and some very good beer bars. I’m proud to be part of the Annapolis Homebrew Club and the Brews By The Bay event that raised funds for the Annapolis Maritime Museum, and the Free State Homebrew Club Guild‘s homebrew holiday party that recently raised over $7,800 for Maryland charities. This is a bunch of local homebrewers making incredible beer in an effort to improve their communities. Beer brought these groups together and we are using beer to bring others together. That’s why I say beer is a social glue.
But in Annapolis it’s not just homebrewers, I also see Metropolitan Kitchen & Lounge as a bar that wants to be the uptown neighborhood beer hub. They are part of the uptown Annapolis revitalization and are giving Naptown residents a reason to venture further up West Street than Loews Hotel. I want to see this place evolve as a beer destination that helps to further improve the community. And I want to see more places like Metropolitan, 1747 Pub, and Dry 85 spread across Annapolis. Naptown should be a beer town.
These are the reasons I love beer. I could drink wine, whiskey or cocktails. I could be a teetotaler. But I choose beer because it’s not just a great drink, but it connects me to family, friends, and my community.