I thoroughly enjoy telling people that. People hear me give a mouthwatering description of a beer and ask if I like what I do and that is my favorite response. Mainly because it gets people wondering what other kinds of deviance I find appealing. It creates that kind of awkward moment in which I relish. It’s mildly misleading but it’s fun to tell people. Especially when my mom is standing right beside me. I can be kind of immature like that sometimes.
The more accurate way to state it is that I find distilled or fermented beverages endlessly fascinating – and not in a “Woohoo let’s tie one on!” sort of way. Mainly because I would never use the word “woohoo” in a public setting. But if you ask your average Joe about beer their impressions are largely going to be shaped by the mega corporate images that spring to mind which are utterly devoid of character, flavor or culture. Nothing could be farther from the true spirit of spirits. Big box “macrobrews” present the glaring exception to millennia of community based beverage production. Since ages past, communities took what nature gave them and worked with it. Often times producing mind bogglingly good results. Results that defined what it meant to be from that particular village. Long before the descriptor “Puligny Montrachet” was used seemingly to hide useful purchasing information from uninformed American consumers, it was just called wine in that town. Only later when one town wanted to show off its fermenting prowess to its neighbors did they start using locations to define the beverages. Why? Because Chablis isn’t a fancy French term for crappy, flavorless California grape juice. It actually conveys the essence of the community that produced it; the chalky soil, the climate of that year, all testified to by the contents of a glass.
Many people think beer could never convey such territorial affinity and deep abiding connection to nature but that notion is terribly misguided. The oldest known recipe in the world is for beer. Countless civilizations have myths and legends about how beer saved their civilization, was a gift from the gods, or proof of God’s blessing. Beer has a deep connection to the land that produced it and many credit beer as a guiding force for the transition from nomadic cultures to farming settlements (which sounds like a pretty good reason to settle down to me). Fortunately for the thirsty masses today, beer has recaptured what was once lost and is both connecting to the agricultural products of small communities as well as connecting to the people of those communities. Texans have long joked that all you need in order to be a small town is a stop sign and a Dairy Queen. Now you can add brewery to that list. With over 200 breweries in the Lone Star state just about every locale in our great state can once again be defined by a beverage. Whether it’s Enchanted Rock Vodka, Becker wines from Fredericksburg, or some delicious New Republic beers from College Station, you get to root for the home team and taste not just the beverage they produce but the towns that produced them. That’s why I love this business. That is what makes beer, wines and spirits endlessly fascinating. Not yet a believer? Swing by and talk to one of our beer evangelists and see if they can make a convert out of you.