Why Beer Brings Us Together
Today, April 15th, 2013 was not a good day for our nation. A cruel act by a coward or a cowardly group can show how despicable and low humans can get. But, it can also show how amazingly great humans can be. Watching footage today after the bombs went off I watched people running right into the blast zone to help those who were injured, not thinking about their own well being and putting their lives on the line to save others. Then it hit me... these are our neighbors. These are the people we sit next to in a pub or brewery and strike up small talk with. When I think back to every time I've been to a Portland brewery or pub, all I see are smiling faces and good memories with great people. Friends meet up after work. Couples share a romantic evening away from the kids, or have a pint while thinking about their future kids. Sports fanatics celebrate a win or even celebrate after a loss, because they know that in the end it doesn't matter—they have friends to commiserate with over a pint about how their team is in a rut.
It's been said before but I'll say it again. The craft beer community is just that... a community. We are the smiling faces at every brewery and pub in this great city, passing brews around the table, sharing stories, advice, opinions. Craft beer brings people from different walks of life together in the same way that sports, or tragedies do. A lawyer can sit with a carpenter and find common ground in the fact that they've attending several of the same festivals and both love imperial stouts. A republican can sit with a democrat and hopefully agree that they at least both like beer (don't want to push my luck with that one). A Christian and an Atheist can sit over a pint and discuss why they believe what they believe and possibly come away with a different view of one another. A twenty something can talk with an eighty something and talk about the loved ones they've lost.
I'm not saying that it is beer that brings out the good in people, that is already instilled in us. But I will say that judging by some of the people I've met in my time in Portland's craft brewing industry, I feel reassured knowing that when I pull up a barstool at a local brewpub that I am in good company. These people we call strangers are our neighbors, they are someone's mother, father, brother, sister, best friend.
So, Portland. I challenge you next time you are at a pub or brewery alone (or even if you're with friends) to put away your phone. Don't worry about checking in to Facebook to tell your friends you're out having a great time. I challenge the guy wearing a suit to strike up a conversation with the guy wearing the Carhartt jacket. I challenge the jock to talk to the nerd. I challenge the hipster to talk to the guy who listens to mainstream music. We are all humans. We are all neighbors and we should start acting like it. So let beer be your catalyst to go out and explore what and who is out there. Buy someone a pint, turn off your phone and lend them an ear. You never know, you may just end up with a life long friend.
Cheers to you, Boston. I am raising a glass to you and your heroes this evening.
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