I had my first Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in 1994. It was delicious and marked my entry in the world of craft beer. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to try a lot of different varieties in many different places. Interesting names. Interesting labels. Interesting stories behind some of the breweries. Mostly, I’m an IPA guy.
I have to say over the last 20 years the shine has come off a bit. When I started in the ministry, pastors didn’t really talk about drinking. (I don’t think that was a good idea either.) You would never read in a pastor’s bio, “When Reverend Jim is not studying Obadiah, you can catch him sipping an Old Style in the bleachers at Wrigley.”
However, the craft beer movement has not only legitimized drinking beer, but it seems to (attempt to) demonstrate that we in the church are cool and relevant. “When Reverend Day is not doing community, you can find him in the corner booth at Tracy’s sipping on a Honey Roasted Cool Ranch Scotch Romanian Whit.” Yeah, because he’s real.
Now, before you go thinking that this is a “Real men drink macro-brews post,” hear me out.
I don’t have a problem with the craft beers. I have a problem with the movement and the effect it has had on people. I have a problem when someone I used to grill Ball Park Franks with and contentedly wash them down with a can from a 30-pack of something now says, “I detect a hint of Coriander.” I have a problem when I order a Blue Moon and someone says to me, “You know that’s a Coors product, right?” But they don’t say it in a trivial, conversational tone. They say it more like, “You know they brew that with puppy tears, don’t you?”
Here’s the thing. If you don’t drink, don’t start. It makes your wallet thin and your belly fat. If you do, then drink what you want.
We’ve turned beer into one more way to be snobs in this country. As if where you live, what you drive, and what you do for a living aren’t enough.
I was at a wedding a couple years ago in Park City, and they had tons of micro-brews. But it wasn’t the IBU’s that made it a great weekend. It was the fact that I was sitting around a table with great friends. I’ve shot pool in a place where all you had to do was order a beer, because Budweiser was all they had. Great time. I took one of my very best friends to dinner on his 21st birthday to a ridiculously tacky Mexican restaurant. It was a chain restaurant where they would clap and put a sombrero on your head if it was your birthday. Great time, especially the murderous look of rage on his face when it happened to be someone else’s birthday, but he thought they were going to make him wear the sombrero. Great time.
If you have friends to sit around a table with, you have a lot. If you have someone to laugh with, then you are wealthy.
It’s a difficult and complicated world. You have a lot worry about. You are under a lot of pressure and have tough decisions to make. You have a lot to fight for.
Fight over the important things. Some things are sacred. Beer’s not one of them.
Be who you are called to be, not who anyone else tells you to be. You be you.