One hobby please. In a tall glass.

For the love of beer.

You see it on the Sam Adams commercials and I for one never got it. Love beer? I scoffed. Not likely, beer  tastes nasty, its taboo, and its unhealthy.

Or so said the younger version of myself.

I can honestly say, I am starting to get it. Over the past year I have started to experiment with beer. I drank beer before then, though I would hard qualify what I drank as beer. Yes, they had  the word beer printed on the front. Yet they were not really a beer.

But with my new found liberty when I turned 21 I started to try some beers. (Because lets face it, you can’t get good beer when you are underage). I found a few I liked. It started with the wheat beers, the sweet soft kind. But over time it developed as I found more that fit a flavor profile I enjoyed.

A hobby?

It became a hobby. That’s really the only way to describe it. People have asked me how or why it could become such a large part of me. I don’t recall a single moment where it happened, it was a gradual integration into my everyday life. I have asked myself why I enjoy beer so much and here is what I came up with.

Beer is old; very old. It was discovered in the early centuries BC. It has since played a large role throughout civilization, and as such it has a long history. I have always loved history. I find the history of beer very intruiging: the various uses, legendary recipes and styles, numerous bans, and its contributions to technology and civilization.

Beyond its history which is long, beer is varied. There are scores of different styles, hundreds of different ingredients, thousands of breweries, and millions of recipes. There are enough unique beers that you could drink a new one every day of your life and never have all of them. Anyone can find a beer they like, or so I believe. It is simply a matter of exploration.

The Unending Search

Exploration is a huge part of any hobby. Learning the ins-and-outs. Going deeper than most. Understanding the process, the entire thing. And as with all hobbies there is a thrill of discovering new experiences in that narrow portion of what we obsess over.

There is a thrill to finding a new favorite. Something that strikes you in all the right ways. A sense of reflection when after re-examination an old classic is found wanting.  There is a sense of surprise in finding that the over-designed/beautiful bottle is filled with crap; while the bottle adorned with a kinkos ready-to-print sticker tastes of pure delight. Beer provides all this and more.

Do It Yourself.

You can make beer, its actually quite easy. Its not to expensive. It only takes a little time and effort. Which is not true of all hobbies. A simple internet search of any beer style with the word ‘recipe’ appended to it will yield you plenty of fine options to start with. The ingredients can be purchased at a local beer store or shipped from online. A few plastic barrels for storage and big pot for boiling and you basically have yourself a DIY brewery. From there you can make and ferment your own brew.

When making your own beer you can experiment. Add spices, fruits, whatever you like, make it your own. You can contribute and expand that hobby that you love. Make it personal.

What’s mine is yours.

After brewing your own beer, all that’s left is to share it with the world. Have friends try it, give it away to strangers, whatever you like. You can share this labor with others, share the hobby with more people.

It is in this generous and kindred spirit people find joy. All for the love of beer.

Talk to me.

‘Let’s get a beer’, the ultimate socializer. Most people enjoy a beer. People will gather just to drink them. The great thing about a beer is that it is just quick enough to be brief, but long enough to be worthwhile. Then there’s always the second round if you want a bit more time.

It is undeniable, people socialize over drinks all the time. I do it all the time. Everyone can get to a bar, have a drink and just chat. You can often tell a lot about a person by the way they order a beer. Some people drink beer to get drunk, those people are probably not order the weak sweet wheat beers. They are grabbing the highest ABV or lightest body beer then can and slamming them. Some people like beers that remind them of other tastes they enjoy, the coffee porters, tea like saisons, the wine like barrel aged beers, the chocolate stouts.  Others just have what you’re having.

And why shouldn’t I?

Everyone has a drink they enjoy: Coffee, Juice, Soda, Wine, Tea, Smoothies. Why should beer be any different? I enjoy beer for the flavor, the aroma, the feel, and the warm fuzzy feeling is just a bonus.

We all love knowing things, obsessing over them and sharing that obsession with others. Its why you can’t stop gushing about your favorite musician, inviting everyone to your rec squash league, or why you can’t stop yourself from uploading pictures of your new pickup truck to Facebook . And that’s it, you love these hobbies and you want to share that with others.

The good thing about beer is, most of the time people don’t mind when you share.

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