Least Common Denominator Syndrome

Or maybe it’s just a one-track mind…

Evidence that Beer-Centricism could be hereditary.

Evidence that Beer-Centricism could be hereditary.

I don’t like small talk. I don’t really talk about the weather. I don’t like talking about work. I don’t enjoy family dinners where I have to recap what I’ve been up to over and over again.

Generally, I concentrate my time and energy into a few good friendships, and a few close familial relationships. I hang around people who are like me. I like beer, the outdoors, music, reading and my family–not necessarily in that order. Those are the subjects I tend to talk about.

But what I’ve noticed about myself is this: when I’m in those “mixed-company situations,” those “meet a new person situations,” those “whatever the heck situations,” and yes, those “sitting around the house with my own darned wife situations,” it always comes back to Beer.

This is my topic of choice. This is what’s on my mind. This is the way I make connections to people, places and things.

I have Least Common Denominator Syndrome, more commonly known as a “one-track mind.” The strangers I meet don’t seem to mind. Beer is interesting, after all. “Wow! You brew your own beer?” they say. Then they ask me heaps of follow-up questions, and my time and conversations are made to feel useful and comfortable.

You, too, may be afflicted. Here are a few ways you might tell:

1. When you meet someone from Northern California, you beg them to send you some Russian River.

2. When you meet someone from Michigan, you say, “Aaaahhh! They’ve got a lot of good beer up there.”

3. When someone says they just got back from a trip to Germany, you ask what all beers they had.

4. Actually, you make a lot of connections between locations/travel to beer, and when you take trips, you spend a lot of time plotting out beery destinations to optimize the trip’s delight, so lump the first four together as NUMBER ONE.

There's more to New Holland than beer?

There's more to New Holland than beer?

NUMBER TWO: When your spouse is telling you about their rough day at work, you suddenly exclaim, “A-ha! I know what I’m going to brew next!”

NUMBER THREE: You smell just about everything.

NUMBER FOUR: You check for clarity when drinking Sprite.

NUMBER FIVE: When you’re visiting a cemetery, your children enthusiastically point out names like Porter and McGinnis. They also scoff at Budweiser trucks driving down the highway.

NUMBER SIX: Basically, you butt into a lot of conversations on a beer-related theme (the examples are endless).

This doesn’t just happen with beer. My wife does it with yoga. She keeps telling me about crap that doesn’t interest me: poses that would help my bowels, upcoming trainings, fascinating facts. When we travel somewhere, she’s all: “Oh, I bet I could catch a class!”

A class?!?! Not when there are brewpubs to hit!

Yes, I have a slight problem, so I must work to curb my enthusiasm. It’s hard to keep it bottled up, but I’m doing a pretty good job. Perhaps you have similar issues, and I’m just here to tell you to take good care of yourself and those around you. Keep it in check, brothers and sisters.

10 Responses to Least Common Denominator Syndrome

  1. drfabulous says:

    1. When you meet someone from Northern California, you beg them to send you some Russian River.

    2. When you meet someone from Michigan, you say, “Aaaahhh! They’ve got a lot of good beer up there.”

    That sounds a lot like me.

  2. Boak says:

    Oh yes. I know those signs. Amazing how quickly I try to get pubs into the conversation.

  3. glennh2os says:

    “Yes, I have a slight problem, so I must work to curb my enthusiasm.”

    But I’ve got to ask why? I’m the only person I know who is as enthusiastic about beer as you are, and I never shut it off. Of course I hang around with far too many beer people, but thats not necessarily a bad thing is it? ;-)

  4. Wilson says:

    Balance, Glenn. I just don’t want to get out of balance. I can’t, and don’t really want to shut it off. Just want to stay good, that’s all.

  5. The Dude says:

    Keep it in check, brothers and sisters.

    Awww man… do I have to? I guess I probably do grate on people who care nothing about beer with talk about it. The way I figure it is this: if they’re just making small talk and don’t really care anything about beer then they probably need to develop more frank honesty. If someone acts interested I take it for granted that they really are.

    BTW Wilson, if you have any interest in writing about homebrewing beer in a collaborative sense for my website I’d be honored to include your writing. Read here for details if you’re interested. If you’re not, then I’ll just try to keep my enthusiasm in check.



  6. Jason says:

    This is just too funny. Just had this conversation with my wife, “…why does everything have to come back to beer?” why not I ask…no reply. Our first weekend away since the birth of my son four years prior and where do we go? To Stone’s 12th Anniversary celebration, where else? After our session at the event we don’t even stop at the hotel which is right by the train station, we hit up Pizza Port and close the place. Out in front of the bottle shop at Pizza Port at midnight that night, after getting up at 7am, I asked her, “So, do you think this day could’ve been more perfect?” her retort, “No, no I don’t think it could be, I love you”. Balance is essential, knowing your passion and feeding it, fundemental. It always comes back to the beer.

  7. Dave says:

    Wilson, just catching up on brewvana and love this post. My wife and I are celebrating our 30th Anniversary and where are we going? Portland, Oregon — to combine three of our favorite things (my wife indulges me a bit here), hiking/walking, local culture and beer. And I really do try to balance things…like visiting the Yukon Brewing Company up in (way up in) White Horse, Canada and searching out Alaskan Smoked Porter while on our Alaska/Yukon adventure. It’s to the point where we map out vacations around the historical and cultural sites, the hiking and walking, and the local beer. Of course, many times the local beer is also tied to local culture and history…and we walk to them all, so it’s the trifecta!! The Brewmuda Triangle!

  8. [...] at Brewvana wrote a great post a few weeks ago about being beer-obsessed, and how the symptoms manifest [...]

  9. Velkyal says:

    “when you take trips, you spend a lot of time plotting out beery destinations to optimize the trip’s delight” – is it worse when you do that in reverse? As in, persuade the wife to go to Pilsen for example, and then tell her that there happens to be a beer festival in the 4* hotel you booked for the weekend?

  10. [...] It’s some of that one-track mindedness, but funny the things that bring back [...]

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