Monday, August 9, 2010

A (happy) void for homebrewers

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In last month's issue of Beer Advocate, the Alstrom brothers used their 'editors note' to state that they believe there is a negative current forming in the beer community. This current has been created/fostered by people who publicly rant and rave (on twitter, facebook, face-to-face, etc) about rare beers that they have, are trying, or have en route to them. For those of us that do not have the good fortune of being able to try rare beers as often as others, a feeling of envy is unavoidable. This can lead to a division in the beer community that results in those that do and those that cannot enjoy rare beers. This division, if maintained/acknowledged, will not do anyone any good. How can it?

Personally, a day does not go by when i do not read on twitter how someone is going to open and enjoy some beer that is rare, not available in my area, or that i have not found available via trade. Occasionally, such posts do have an aire of arrogance along the lines of 'i am awesome because i have this beer readily available and you do not', which does nothing but stir the fire of jealousy. Please, do not get me wrong, I am a strong supporter of people trying new beers, new styles, etc so that they expand their palate, personal beer knowledge, and appreciation for beer. It's the rubbing it in the faces of others that irks me.

I understand that every beer is not going to be made available everywhere. While such a situation would be ideal, it is not realistic for most breweries. What is realistic is that this lack of availability of beer leaves a void that must be filled (ok it does not have to be filled, but as a beer fan I feel it must). Who better to fill this void than homebrewers. There is not one group of culinary artisans that is more creative, driven, and exuberant than homebrewers. I firmly believe that it is the homebrewer that will take up the slack present in various beer markets around the country that do not have as wide an array of beer available as large cities do.

If you are not already a homebrewer, consider this the excuse to take up homebrewing you have been waiting for. Give beer brewing a shot: it is easier than you think, more fun than you realize, and it will save you money in the long run.

So, instead of focusing on what is not available in your area at the store, focus on what you can bring to your community yourself. Brew a barleywine that uses molasses, an IPA that utilizes chilies, etc.. Fill the void yourself, and bring new beer to your area.

Yes, the perceived growing snobbery in the beer community must cease. We do not need to perpetuate this perceived schism in the beer community. Beer is a means to bringing people together, and that community should be fostered through constructive participation, encouragement for those that pursue something new to them, and fostering of the pursuit of creativity in brewing and in beer.