The easy answer to give is that it's a tangible product distinguished by passion, quality, and attention to detail. But ice cream is also a tangible product. It's made by brilliant artisans with dedication and love. Why isn't there an enthusiastic, far-reaching culture built around seeking out the world's finest frozen cream-based sweets? Why don't you and your friends plan weekend trips with the idea of hitting six ice cream shops across three states? For some reason it's different. For some reason with beer you sense a connection.
For some reason it's different. For some reason with beer you sense a connection.
The difference is in what the product evokes. Beer is nostalgic. The memories, emotions, and desires it stirs don't necessarily have to be related to a specific brand or place. The passion it comes from and stirs in people is easily relatable and, more importantly, affordable enough to be attainable without being meaningless. Beer can remind you of people you miss or have lost. It can awaken memories of an accomplishment or a time when you were vulnerable. Nestling up to the bar at your local brewery can be your ticket to remembering that summer you spent after college kicking through Europe, finding that dark and quiet bar that could do no wrong during a train layover in Bruges. Somehow, we all trust beer enough to connect with us on a deeper level that is unique for each of us--well, the people we hang out with anyway. It can be a bridge for a reflection with friends or alone. It can be a social magnet or symbol for an important moment--clinking glasses to celebrate a friend's arrival or the joining of families.
For me, beer engages directly with a desire to build. Whether I'm in our own brewery or another, my experiences constantly remind me that my colleagues and I at SOB have the rare opportunity to display our passions. It is an outlet for me to create and construct something for my own son. That glass sits steady to remind me that my brother and I are expanding upon the foundation set by my father, whose five siblings gave him the entire family's meager inheritance so he could be the first to attend college.
The memories, emotions, and desires it stirs don't necessarily have to be related to a specific brand or place.
Beer is different to everyone. And the culture around it exudes a desire to accomplish and a devotion to learn. What's next? What's new? How can we each strive to do better? Some of the finest beers in the world can be accessible to anyone with six dollars in their pocket and the gall to seek out a new experience. They can be made by brewers in their home kitchens or in industrial-scale factories. That doesn't matter at all when it comes down to what's in the glass, but when those differences and experiences are considered en masse, like that of the so-called 'craft beer movement,' you realize that we are weaving our individual lives into a cultural fabric. A shared desire for something bigger than ourselves connects us through a simple beer in a glass. Within beer lives a culture where anyone can participate regardless of gender, race, class, religion, or background.
Beer is welcoming, engaging each of us in our own way and giving us a place to seek out that same human element together. Think of that connection the next time you raise a glass, and a story, or a hope. Who knows, maybe together--and obviously over a beer--we can figure this whole life thing out.
Sometimes at the brewery we listen to rock and sometimes we listen to rap. On occasion you might hear some jazz, pop, or a splash of early punk. The important thing to realize is that we’re always lively. Always accomplishing something. Always planning for what we hope will not be your favorite new thing, or the brewery’s favorite new thing, but our favorite thing together. Never complacent and always adapting. Changing the world, probably. These are those stories.