A few years ago before the idea of Border Beer Fest became an idea, I used to go to the local HEB and look at what beer was different from the Miller Lite’s & Budlight’s of the world. Think about it: my dad and mom and their every day selection of beer was the same ALL THE TIME. Call it the rebellion of youth or perhaps the need for change in my life that made me say, “fuck it, no more!” Don’t get me wrong, I still go to parties and gatherings 15 years later and it is the same tired beer selection and I’m forced to drink what the rest of the conformist drink, but for story purposes I’m of age and ready to switch things up.
So here I am standing in front of the cooler and its a mile long. 90 percent of the selection of this mile long cooler is composed mostly of, yup you guessed it, mom and dads party juice. Oh, but the 10 percent. Shiner Bock, Samuel Adams, Becks, Guinness, Paulaner, St. Pauli’s Girl, made up that little section and I can’t forget about Grolsch. Now, I know what you’re thinking, wack ass selection. I look back and I think the same thing, but rewind back to before craft beer was even a term people throw around now like a basketball. Today the term craft beer is used loosely with beer that has been mass produced undercover to fool the evolving virgin craft beer connoisseurs who are now searching for change like I once was 15 years ago.
Whatever the case, I’m standing in front of the 10 percent trying to decide and I go with Samuel Adams Boston Lager. As I reach for the 6 pack, I pull it off the refrigerator shelf and notice that dust has accumulated on the bottles. Before born on dates and “get to know your brew master”, there was dust on the bottles letting you know this beer hadn’t gotten a second look from beer drinkers. Anyway, what did I know? I was just a young 21 year old buying different beer because I wanted to try new things. The best part about buying this beer is that no one wanted to try it and that only meant more for me. What? I’m selfish with my craft beer.
So I finish my purchase and make way home to put my 6 pack into my fridge, but before I do that and it is a ritual that I still practice to this day, I grab my beer and pour a little onto the Earth as a taste for all of my friends and family who are with me in spirit. Call it a little Tupacish, but I pay respect to those whose memory crosses my mind as I enjoy the beauty of hops and grain’s finished product. So with the first sip came a, “what the fuck?” and with the second came a thought that I was sold. No more commercial shit. The smell and taste combine with the dark colors that all came together to make me deviate from the masses. From that moment, I started my journey to taste as many different beers as possible. I guess what my whole post was about today is that we keep an open mind just as the 21 year old had when he was faced with only a 10 percent selection and encourage diversity with our beer selection. As I go to different beer retailers around the city there are still many who refuse to open up the selection and some micro breweries are too small to make it to my area. Politics, money, experience and beer education will be powerful tools going forward and if you are a person who is searching for change or a craft beer lover looking for some one who appreciates the exploration of flavor, then you must be willing to accept the journey and move past all the bullshit some of these beer companies are trying to force down your throat.