In the beginning there was beer - and it was good.
Okay, it was sometime after that but it was along time ago and it was good. It had to be because they kept on making it. And making it better ever since. By some accounts it may have even been the purpose of civilization itself - our ansestors needing to stay in one place long enough to grow the ingredients for this wonderful, live-sustaining drink.
Sometime after that, just about six years ago I took on part-time work at a soon-to-open wine store. At first this action was simply to bring in some extra money to keep up with tuition bills. I knew I was going to learn a lot about wine but I had no idea this work would change me so profoundly. I was paired with some very smart people who knew a lot about wine - fine wine. This is a very nice store, meant to cater to a more sophisticated clientele. And beer was secondary or perhaps even less. That was then.
Something has happened over these past six years. For one, while the wine store has been doing well, the beer industry has been extremely well and has changed in some dramtic ways (up from a low of 89 breweries in late 1970s to 2,538 as of June 2013, source Brewers Association) . More importanly, I've changed. I've learned a great deal about a great many things in the wine/beer business - how to appreciate very nice wines, the workings of a retail business, working with a variety of compatriots and making many new friends/customers. And I've learned far more about emerging beer.
When I was a child, I drank as a child. In beer drinking terms this was the late 1970s and college. Even then I gravitated toward the better beer of those days - Michelob or Heineken. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me - it did take me some time to grow up. What started as part-time work has turned into a passion for good beer that has been fueled by a bunch of crazy American brewers that must simply be having the time of their lives.
Yes, I know there is a business to run, but the beers being offered today are full of variety, imagination and just good spunk. We've witnessed a transformation before our very eyes in the depth and breath of beers being offered. Every week and sometimes daily a great new beer is introduced into the world and to wide awake and waiting beer drinkers. Its dizzying to try to keep up with it but the faster it moves, the faster I want to be so I can run along side of it.
I'm not alone. I am continually meeting others who want to trade a beer or a beer story. I have found beer is like love - the more you give away, the more you get back.
I like getting deeper into beer - it is a drink and it is a study. This no-part-time-passion has led me to document my thoughts, education, and passion through a beer blog that I've been writing for about a year. I've grown to where I was able to pass the Cicerone Beer Server exam and have taked the Certified Cicerone exam. And in the near future I want to start a traveling beer school, teaching and sharing the passion about the history, people, tastes and complexities of this thing that is called beer. Who knows where this may go but I plan on enjoying the ride.
So raise your glass with me to the Journey, the Knowledge, to Beer.