When You Can Write About Anything, Why Write About Beer?
Because I believe in beer. Of all the things to put your faith in, beer might seem like an odd choice, but I choose beer.
Why? Because to appreciate a great beer is to be at home in our world, our bodies, our time.
For so much of our lives we turn away from what makes us human: we lose ourselves in work, in media, in the day-to-day grind, and we forget our history, we forget to stop and taste the moment we’re in, we forget to take time to drink really great beer or eat good food.
But in drinking a beer we can reactivate our humanity, we can activate our senses. Smell the malt, the hops’ subtle piney citrus scent, see color imparted by malted grains. Feel the way a buzz of carbonation simmers to the round mouthfeel of a barrel aged Stout or the tangy bite of a Lambic.
Maybe the thing I love most about beer is how drinking it slows down the pace of life and allows me a moment to consider, to think.
Somedays that moment is as simple as, Wow, the hops in this Double IPA really remind me of the pineapple I ate for lunch, or, The lemongrass in this Saison is kind of working like hops when you add them at the end of the boil.
And I love just that, the naming of my experience, because it ties me to a moment and to myself in a way that more abstract thinking doesn’t.
Some days my thoughts are of a more critical nature, This Saison seems under-attenuated, or (whenever drinking my own homebrew), What the hell happened with this beer? It’s barely drinkable.
On certain days, I just slowly pour a cold beer and I don’t think, I just feel the feel the glass beneath my hand, the weight of the beer in it, the cool foam against my lips. All this is a kind of mindfulness, a way of being in myself that connects me to the moment I’m in. Maybe that is why so many monks took up brewing, because there is a way of drinking that is about as close as some of us will ever get to meditation.
Of all the things to believe in, I choose beer because beer connects me to myself and the moment I’m in; beer connects me to a human history; beer brings me together with friends and family; beer connects me to a culture and tradition of brewers.
For me, beer is a way of life and a way of seeing the world.