For American Craft Beer Week 2014, A Couple Ways To Celebrate Craft Beer – Now, and Always.

ACBW14_logoI’ll be the first to admit that my father in law knows a thing or two about beer.  Having worked for a local beer distributor for close to twenty years, he is not what you’d call a newbie to the beverage.  Though he is pretty in tune with all things pale lager, is familiar with most German styles, can spot a wheat in a second, and certainly knows that when it comes to beer, those Belgians are a crazy bunch, he tends to shy away from most things involving the word “ale” and beers that feature a healthy dose of hops.  That is, until recently.

Now, I’d like to think that I had a hand in a recent observation he had.  I’ll admit, with no small amount of pride I’ll add, that it’s hard to hang around me much without being exposed to the variety of styles that are commonplace in the world of craft beer.  My wife can surely attest to that.  Not too much for the varying styles of beer that craft inevitably exposes you to when we first met, recently, she has begun to exit bottle shops with more beer in hand than I, something that caught me a little off guard the first time it happened, and I believe to be cause for no small amount of alarm.  (Actually, I think it’s great, dear.  Really!)  But on a recent visit to our apartment, my father in law went looking for a beer in the beer fridge, and with very little thought, asked if he could grab one of my Lagunitas Sucks.  Yeah.  That Lagunitas Sucks – the one and only, a deliciously hopped up IPA from one of the best purveyors of IPAs in the land.  I admit that unfortunately I wasn’t present at the time, but I understand my wife was slightly stunned at the selection – a feeling I also felt later when I heard the story – but of course gladly grabbed it for him.  If memory serves me, it wasn’t the first taste of Sucks he had ever had, but I’m pretty sure it was the first he perhaps had directly asked for.  After a couple sips, an explanation that went something like this was uttered:  “I don’t like every IPA, but at the same time, they just all taste…so different from one to another.”  Yep.  Isn’t beer wonderful?

I remember my own first IPA revelation, which came to me over a pint of Heavy Seas’ flagship Loose Cannon.  I even remember where I was.  It was right around the time I had begun using the mobile beer check-in app Untappd, and for kicks, I recently went back to those early beers.  After Loose Cannon came a variety of styles, but there were clearly long streaks of all IPA curiosity.  Nectar, Snake Dog, Racer 5, Centennial, Two Hearted, and I remember thinking the same thing.  They are all very different.  Some were fine, others are absolute go-to’s today, and I still seek out most any IPA I can get my hands on.  They are still all so different.  Yes, isn’t beer wonderful.

There are plenty of moments that bring me great joy when it comes to craft beer.  One of them is definitely when someone who isn’t all that familiar with craft asks for a taste of whatever is in my glass, which is of course, typically a craft beer, at which point I absolutely will be glad to oblige.  With any luck, it can lead to one of those simple but sweet moments which consists both of introducing something you find immensely enjoyable to someone who is curious about it and hopefully finds it good as well, if not outright delicious, which then triggers a split second of sweet nostalgia from one’s own road of discovery.  I’d like to think that something like this happened, although somewhat indirectly, the night my father in law asked for a Lagunitas Sucks.  Without a doubt, life is richer when it consists of moments such as these.

Very simply, here during American Craft Beer Week, what better way to celebrate all that is great about craft beer than to have as many of these moments as possible.  Share something good, and remember how it all got started.  Cheers.

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~ by thebeerroad on May 13, 2014.

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