As some may have already noticed, my presence on lovegoodbeer.com over the past few weeks has slowly faded. I feel I owe a bit of an apology for this neglect – could this negligence on my behalf be considered alcohol abuse?
Part of this is due to a new job – they tend to take up a good portion of time. I have a hard time finding inspiration to blog after spending all day sitting in front of a computer editing and drafting business communication pieces. This is not a valid excuse – most of us either have a job or would like to have one. Once I have settled in a little more at my current work I will post on a regular basis once again.
The other reason for my diminishing online presence, and perhaps the largest reason, is a genuine fear of slowly turning into a beer snob. I have a tremendous respect and passion for beer and therefore want to always portray beer as simply just beer. Beer is an incredibly complex drink with a long history which is intertwined with the development of modern human civilization – but to most it is just beer and I see no problem with that. This blog was started because Chris and I both love beer. We wanted an opportunity to learn more about beer and share our passion for this tasty beverage with others. Over the course of the past few months I have learned that beer is an inclusive drink, and it should always be that way.
Take for example my recent experience in California’s Napa Valley – I also love good wine. My wife and I purchased a five dollar discount-shelf wine country guide book in San Francisco this past summer and took to the wind in our rented Toyota Echo. The guide book turned out to be less useful than we had hoped, I got what I payed for I suppose. With so many wineries to see in only two days we needed to develop a strategy. We decide to visit wineries with the best sounding names – this seemed logical to me. After visiting our first winery, we were told by the snooty wine tasting woman that perhaps we should try a different road to travel from vineyard to vineyard on because the area we were in was “too exclusive”. And this was after we paid $20 for a sip of over-hyped wine. This put a damper on the afternoon – no one wants to be excluded. Wine should never be an exclusive drink, but as demonstrated above, often times it is.
Wine and beer share similar histories; many ancient civilizations consumed large amounts of either beer or wine and they all recognized the ability of these two beverages to nourish and bring pleasure. Wine and beer helped turn survival from a daily struggle into a joyful celebration. Wine became a drink for the elite when the ancient Greeks mastered viticulture and beer was a left as a drink for the barbarians to the north. Only the wealthy could afford good wine and suddenly wine became an exclusive pleasure reserved only for middle to upper class citizens. To this day Northern Europe produces beer and Southern Europe produces wine. Wine is still the drink of choice for society’s elite and beer is still for the working class citizens. I am generalizing a lot here – I am sure many wealthy people love beer and vice versa.
The attitude that “real ale” must be preservative free, naturally carbonated, and poured from a sediment heavy bottle or cask does not agree with me. I mean no disrespect to CAMRA, I am a proud card carrying member, but this concept of real beer seems inaccurate. This concept of real ale implies that most of my friends do not enjoy real beer and that when I go out for lunch with my new work colleagues I am not drinking real beer. Real ale may be brewed following traditional recipes and techniques, but I believe these recipes are somewhat off the mark. This new concept of real ale seems somewhat exclusive – the attitude that inclusive macro-brewed beer is not real, is just plain wrong.
If beer tastes good, provides nourishment and brings joy to the drinker, than it is real beer. Everything from premium craft beer to light bohemian macro-brewed lager is real beer.