You walk into an elevator and hit the button for your destination level. Already in the elevator is someone holding a beer…and it’s a beer that annoys you because, in your view, it represents all that is bad with the current state of beer.
You can’t help but say something, so you confront your lift passenger with the reason why their beer choice is bad.
I noticed you’re a beer drinker. That bottle of beer is actually an elevator pitch for beer’s 10,000 year relationship with humanity. It started as a happy accident with wet grain. Fermentation was not understood but revered for centuries. Some say that beer is responsible for ending our nomadic past. Agriculture provided dependable grain for beer and was much more reliable that foraging. It enabled man to create villages and towns. Animals were domesticated. Towns grew to cities and states. When cities became crowded, beer provided hydration in days before we understood bacteria. Beer made sea voyage possible.
Beer’s yeast helped us understand genetics, mutation and evolution. Beer itself evolved. It adapted to local conditions including water, local ingredients, climate and even tax laws. This was the genesis of the hundreds of beer styles we enjoy today. Each expressing a depth of flavors of biscuit, toast, roast, chocolate, citrus, pine, fruit—thousands of flavor compounds—many we barely understand.
In America, beer became big business—an industrial process. It survived Prohibition and massive consolidation. People forgot that it was once made at home. It became mysterious. The joy brewing left the common man. Today it is reborn as thousands of local small business ventures. It reinvigorated communities. It created community leaders, mayors and even governors. The President appreciates homebrewing.
Like millions of other people, I find you with that bottle, or did it find you. There’s never been more choice in the world. Cheers!