So this blog is a really fun way to pass along stuff I find interesting, fun, and helpful. Lately I have spent a great deal of time writing about eating right and getting in shape. I still say EAT RIGHT AND GET IN SHAPE. However, I have neglected one of my favorite topics, beer! Let’s take a big step back and peek into my only vice shall we.
Live Global, Dial Local, Drink Around Here
I may have that saying wrong but I am certain there is local beer near you (thus the term local). No matter where you live there is a brewery somewhere close by. I have a warm spot for Schell’s in New Ulm. I also and new warm spot – The Mankato Brewery. My apologies to those who do not live here, I get that this blog should be big picture and not about what happens in my little village, but you can figure it out. Try, just try to put yourself at your locally brewery and open your mind up to the experiences that come with small breweries. Let this be an example of how things can go.
I just read an article on Esquire or some equally as snooty site about craft beer. I often scoff at the fashion advice and “trend of the day” writing but, this guy was spot on. I witnessed it first hand. He made an impassioned plea to quit asking for samples. His point was simply that time is wasted and there is a basic truth is being ignored. It is beer! You cannot tell from a sip, buy the damn beer and drink it. If you don’t really like it, don’t buy it again. You don’t see people asking to sample the steak, or have a thimble of scotch. Back to my observation. This cozy brewery offers 4 – 6oz samples with a cool little carrier for $6.00. You just got your samples. I am sure it is a break even at best for the home-town-hop-team. The idea is for the common slob to try a mitt-full of beer and look like you are not a knuckle-dragging mouth breather. Here is what is sitting in my craw:
…. this woman and her friend in front of me, IN FRONT OF ME, insisted on little sample cups of beer and stood there chatting:
“oh, did you try the blah blah blah nonsense?”
“no I didn’t, what is it like?”
“I don’t know, they say it is an amber beer, it looks brown to me?”
“oh really, I am a mouth breather, what does that mean?”
“it means people hate us.”
This crap went on for, what seemed like eternity. Meanwhile, in the real world, a line of us were growing impatient waiting to BUY BEER and support these blokes. Finally I was overcome with common sense, mixed with testosterone, and stepped between them and ordered a beer. No one cheered, no one even gave me the nod, but I knew deep down they muttered the word hero. On a side note, I saw the aforementioned crazy woman ranting about her beer later as she stormed off to the biffy. I hate to say it, but I knew that would happen. You can lead them to the beer but cannot make them emotionally stable.
The point of that story is DON’T BE THAT PERSON! Have tiny bid of common sense and spend a few bucks. If you are too cheap to buy a beer, don’t waste the precious time of a small business. Go to Sam’s Club and get the 72 pack of whatever water/beer is on sale, go home, and bathe in it. Get out of the way.
The Cool Stuff
Here is what is almost a fun as drinking beer, looking at swag. These small breweries often have the best stuff; hats, glasses, live music, space for events, stainless steel things, and fun people. Saturday was the third trip to this establishment for me. I have not had a bad day gathered about the bar yet. The beer is cold and fresh. The staff members who pour my libation have been unreasonably pleasant and patient. I think they need to be patient. One day a group of men were there on bikes. These are vintage bicycles, not motorcycles, bikes. They ride bikes all over the state and visit beer. That my not be exactly the goal of this rag-tag bunch of oddities, but I am certain is was crazy old dudes on bikes. The bar keep gladly explained the mission and hopes of the brewery for, what was probably, the 50th time that day. Gladly they marshaled on, preaching about beer and, well beer. Hopefully these men left with a smile on their face.
The really cool thing about a business entrenched in a local market is the humanity they bring to the ecosystem. The brewery is open to hosting events and fundraisers. My most recent visit was a local Pride group raising money for the upcoming parade. The brewery had a stage, power, tables, and a tolerant spirit that bodes well the future of the business. It is important to be part of something bigger than money and a product. I will stack up local businesses like this against corporate events any day of the week. I may be off topic, but you can do more with less, when the people who are making the world a better place live right in the very world they serve.
Back On Topic
I would be remiss if I did not mention the beer. I always struggle with this part since I am not a beer judge. I know what I like and what I mostly like. I have read all sorts of beer reviews that have categories and grading scales and science behind them. I am not quite at that level. I went to a winery in California called Concannon a few years ago. It was quaint and perfect when you drove up. I was with a guy who had never really consumed wine that was not in a box or refrigerated. It was a lucky day for all of us when we stumbled up to the tasting table and started a conversation with the wine dude. This guy explained the history of the place and gave his background. He was a retired high-power lineman from Montana. He was the Glen Campbell song! When my co-worker opened a vein and confessed his fears about looking foolish at the winery his words were met with kind understanding. This old guy simply said that there are four kinds of wine: red, white, good and bad. If you find something you like, drink it. Simple and true, loved it! That is how I feel about the beer I drink. My favorites are Haymaker and Duly Noted. Both are pale ales, my current beer of choice. I like my beer like my women, cold and bitter. I also had a porter and some more traditional ales. All was well, I was drinking beer and listening to live music. Two tipsy thumbs up to the day.
You may not like all of the beers they sell. Just buy one and drink it. After you are done, buy something else… please.