I had the beer gene. That’s the long and short of it. But it’s always the long story that’s more interesting, right?
I always looked forward to drinking beer, way back when I was a kid. I wasn’t wooed by cartoon characters or curvy babes. I just thought beer looked right for me. I started in earnest when I was 15. Those imbibing days are a world away from today. Cheap beer in mass quantities. Multifacetedly sad, but true.
There was a time back in high school when a few of us discussed making our own beer. It’s probably a good thing that we didn’t, as we’d have been impatient, unsanitary and five gallons wouldn’t have been a big enough pay-off, given the effort involved. Worse, I may have been deterred from ever again giving it a go.
In college, getting into coffee and cooking in restaurants got me more tuned into flavor, so I started to show interest in a better beer. Ale seemed an illusive entity. I tracked one down here and there, though a college budget doesn’t allow much of that. I took an advanced public speaking course, and that’s where the light bulb flickered more brightly. One of my classmates did a demonstration speech on homebrewing. While my cheesecake speech wowed the class, his inspired me to strive for a new hobby as soon as I graduated and got a “real” job.
That’s what happened. I moved to the Navajo Reservation in Northern Arizona to teach, hit the homebrew shop in Flagstaff and began brewing right away. It was a German Altbier, and though I forgot to add the hops, it was bottled glory. Like every first homebrew.
My early commercial transition beers included the likes of Bass and Newcastle. And sampling at brewpubs revealed the beauty of stout. No more cheap beer. It was an exciting time. My inborn predisposition for loving beer was one thing. But it was choice that brought me Good Beer. But then I’ve also chosen to jump out of airplanes and off of cliffs, drive demolition derby cars and climb vertical rock faces. Some folks are going to need a little more prodding and massaging to make the switch. We converted have work to do.
Whatever I do, I try to do well. I partied very well, way back when. Now I drink well. There’s a big difference between drinking hard and drinking well. Life is better this way. Brewvana, even.
Many thanks to Boak and Bailey for hosting this month’s Session!