04 December 2007

A philosophy of beer, if you will

Hello boys!

This being my very first post here at House o' Perm, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on brewing, sampling, and enjoying this fermented elixir we love so much. You will probably never see a post from me on here about the specifics of the brewing process, since I am completely uninvolved with this part of our household. My job consists of complaining about the yeasty smells and piles of equipment that are slowly taking over our downstairs bathroom, and, of course, happily consuming the beer once it's finished.

Nonetheless, I feel like Mark extended the blogger invitation to me not out of courtesy, but because I too have more just than just a blythe interest in the process of enjoying beer. As with many parts of my marriage, I stand in the doorway of this hobby, halfway between nerdy over-involvement and sarcastically poking fun at the passions of the crafter.

My very first beer (in college) was an Icehouse. Sitting on the mattress of a kid on my freshman hall, slice of Papa John's in hand, I sipped the nastiness of watery rice-malt brew. How many people start out this way? Is this the only entrance into the beer world? In my mind, there were two main things wrong with this memory:
1. It was an Icehouse. Ugh. Gag.
2. Drinking these beers was a goofy secret, under the radar of our watchful RA. Our sense of adulthood started with breaking the rules. Not only we were kinda lame, I'll admit - we were beginning a perception of alcohol, beer specifically, as a forbidden indulgence.

Working as a youth minister for the past few years, I know about the drinking culture my kids are confronted with. And I know some things will never change. Teenagers will always giggly sip beer, act inappropriately, and push the limits when they know they're not supposed to. Especially about rules that are placed upon them by adults. I think the only way we grow into being adults is learning how to deal with these rules and limits we put on ourselves - spiritually, emotionally, physically - by walking around within a safe framework and learning to think for yourself. But enough about that.

Returning to my earlier question: Why does this have to be the story most everyone has about their first beer? Why is loving beer a journey from the bottom up? (No pun intended.) Why do we start with the dregs before heading to the finer brews? Is there no redemption for the Coors and Miller drinkers out there?

And also: why is beer so often seen as a coarse beverage? At Thanksgiving, everyone appreciates the wine that's passed around the table, but we get strange looks when Mark brings a fine bottle of Saison. And also: why is beer seen as so masculine? I invite your thoughts.

(Sorry for the long winded-ness. I'm bored at work.)

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