Come for the Beer, Stay for the Story

Beer. Barleywine. Ale. Stout. Dopplebock. K├Âlsch. If you only recognize two or three of these, that’s fine, but for those of us who can wax rhapsodic on the glories of each, we hang out at RFD or the Brickskellar for some of the very best that fermented barley & hops have to offer. Last night, and the night before, us beer geeks gathered for the Regional Strong Ale tasting. Judging by my partial hangover this morning, they were strong indeed.

But the best part of the tastings isn’t the beer, it’s the brewers and Bob Tupper. At the front of the room, at a dias with microphone, Bob brings the brewers up with samples of their beer, and they get to talk about it. It’s amazing what you hear when folks talk about their beer. Last night, Jeremy Cowan from Shmaltz Brewing got up and told some incredible stories about his Lenny’s Bittersweet R.I.P.A. that had us all in hysterics, especially at the time that his own grandmother one-upped his coolness factor by mentioning that she and his grandfather saw Lenny Bruce at the burlesques in San Francisco.

Watching people talk passionately about what they do is some of the coolest stuff you’ll ever see, whether they’re artists, or musicians, federal officials, or brewmasters. That kind of personal investment in one’s work is a true rarity, with many people living their work-life like they belonged as an extra on the Office. It’s inspiring.

If you think of it as paying for the story, you get to pretend that the beer is free, too.

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