Monday, July 27, 2009

On Beer...

July 27, 2009

It appears that I have much to say, and all day to say it, but no one to listen. So starting a blog seems just natural at this point. I will never believe that anyone will bother to read it anyway.

There are a few subjects that I know more than most people about, but only one that interests more than just myself. I wax philosophically about beer ad nauseum...just ask my friends who like to drink beer, but get sick of hearing me talk about it. Beer transcends us from Regular Joe Six Pack (don't confuse with Joe the plumber who isn't really a plumber, or say it ain't so Joe the VP, these are not Regular Joes) to the haughty beer snob. I live somewhere in between. My brother considers me a snob, he just likes good beer, but the people who make beer, judge beer, describe beer, or write about beer for a living might think me an idiot. Michael Jackson, I am not. (it doesn't matter which one we are talking about....I am neither).

I like to make it, I like to drink it, I think a lot about it, and I like to talk about it. So one more blog about beer will not hurt anyone, will it? Only time will tell.

Once upon a time, long ago, I heard the quote, "Life is too short to drink cheap beer"....a quick Internet search does not reveal any original source. I used to believe this, and used to oft quote it, but have decided that life is too short not to pass up the chance to try a beer, instead. Cheap beer (mostly mass produced lager made in America with adjunct ingredients) has its place as does any of the so-called Extreme Beers being produced by craft and home brewers today. Both push the envelopes of the art and science of brewing in separate directions. I just wish that we hadn't lost so much of our American brewing heritage due to Prohibition, subsequent regulations, marketing trends toward mass consumption, and brewery consolidation that we so needed to discover our roots.

America seems to be about discovery and creation. We never stop redefining ourselves, and trying to improve. Sadly, some believe that profit is the only motivation worthwhile and thus should define the scope of our effort and our improvements. Under that burden, we would have never sent Americans into space, and onward to the moon, and we may have never been enlightened to taste a Pliny the Elder. For those of you that haven't heard of Pliny (you may have been living in a cave or sequestered in some undisclosed location, who knows), it is a beer from the Russian River Brewery out of Santa Rosa, California. It is an extremely hoppy and strong beer (described as a Double IPA) and was voted the best beer in the United States by the American Homebrewer's Association member's survey (Zymurgy, July/August 2009). Neither experience (walking on the moon or experiencing Pliny) has necessarily changed the course of history (yet), but we are collectively indebted to modern day explorers to remind us that there are new frontiers, that many things are yet possible, and that someday dreams can become reality.

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