A Cheer For Beer

In June 2015, two months into my blogging career, I composed a paean to beer, and I’ve returned to the subject several times since then. I have my friend Cindy to thank for setting the present story in motion. Here’s why: I mentioned to her recently that, for quite a while, I’d been taking photos at home of beers, alongside their frequently snazzy cans and bottles. And that I’d been sending some of the photos (via email with a subject line reading Tonight’s beer) to a rotating selection of relatives and friends. Those folks included Cindy’s husband Gene. Cindy didn’t say that she thought this was a pretty ridiculous thing to do, as well it might be. Nope, her immediate response was, “You should write a story about that.”

Well, I mulled over her idea for a number of days, finally deciding to wax rhapsodic about beer once again. And so, I headed to my smart phone’s photo archives. There I discovered that my first documentation of a beer purchase occurred in November 2020, and that approximately 80 more beers/cans/bottles subsequently have posed for me. None of the pictures are wonderful examples of the art of photography, that’s for damn sure, nearly all of them having been snapped clumsily in my kitchen or dining room. But what the hell. They are what they are.

Despite their pedestrianism, one thing for certain is that they make me want to down a cold brew right now. I won’t, however, because it’s mid-afternoon as I type these opening paragraphs, and I drink (almost) only at night. And only five beers per week, to boot. Shit, you better believe that I’d like to be able to drink a whole lot more than that, but I’m a geezer with a sensitive system. I know my limits. Maybe that’s why I truly savor just about every quaff that goes down my aged hatch.

In the USA, where I live, the beer world started to turn into a wonderland in the early 1990s. That’s when small breweries began popping up like mad all over the States, producing styles of beer commonly known to some parts of the world, but unfamiliar to the vast majority of American beer drinkers (including me), who downed only Budweiser, Miller and other mild lagers. Around that time, also, beers from other countries began finding their way into my nation more plentifully than before. Lo and behold, I gradually learned about stouts, porters, pale ales, wheat beers and Oktoberfests, to name a few, plus lagers that put Bud and Miller to shame. With hundreds upon hundreds of American breweries each producing their takes on assorted beer varieties and sometimes developing new styles, and with varied beers arriving from overseas, a beer renaissance was under way on my side of the pond.

Over time I’ve become a beer geek. A devotee of most types of beer, I’m amazed by the deliciousness almost always awaiting me at taverns, restaurants and beer stores. And I enjoy few things better than seeking out beers that I’ve never had before, in bottles and cans and on tap. I think of this ongoing quest as a treasure hunt. It thrills and delights me. I’m not kidding when I say that the beer revolution, still going very strong in the USA, has been one of my favorite developments of the last several decades. It has made my life better.

And I can’t seem to restrain my excitement. Thus, since starting the photography project innocently over two years ago, I grab a picture of nearly every store-bought beer that’s new to me when I open its can or bottle (for instance, Iron Hill Brewery’s version of Oktoberfest, which I discovered recently). I also immortalize beers that have held, and continue to hold, a special place in my heart and mouth. Anchor Steam Beer, proudly brewed in San Francisco since 1896, though I didn’t find out about it till almost 100 years later, is a prime example of that.

What’s more, I feel compelled to share my enthusiasm. The dozens and dozens of my beer pix that have landed in a bunch of individuals’ inboxes attest to that. Do any of these people want my pictures? Do they think I’m batty to send them? Who knows? Who cares? The bottom line is that delicious beers deserve to be acknowledged and saluted. To which I add . . . olé!

170 thoughts on “A Cheer For Beer

  1. Audrey Driscoll January 24, 2023 / 12:27 am

    As well as the beers, there are all the nifty names for those craft breweries. Just from around where I live there are these: Whistle Buoy Brewing, Moon Under Water Brewing, Ile Sauvage Brewing Co., and Yellow Dog Brewing Co.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lynette d'Arty-Cross January 24, 2023 / 1:40 am

    I really enjoy a good beer, especially European beers (or European style). So delicious after a long day; they can really hit the spot! I understand about knowing your limits as I have to watch mine too. Great post – a very enjoyable read.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gabychops January 24, 2023 / 2:04 am

    Even as a non-drinker, I can feel how good a cool beer must be on a hot day!


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Paddy Tobin January 24, 2023 / 4:25 am

    The enthusiasm for different beers has been strong here in Ireland also with several micro-breweries locally and others spread around the country. Peculiarly, in my opinion, for Ireland is the land of stout – Guinness, Murphy’s, Beamish to list the best known – there have been few innovations along those lines.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 11:05 am

      A restaurant near me sometimes has O’Hara’s Irish stout. It’s delicious. I think I like it more than Guinness.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. johnlmalone January 24, 2023 / 4:27 am

    the revolution has reached Oz, Neil’; I’m a devotee and imbiber of craft beer; Cheers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. KeriC9 January 24, 2023 / 4:44 am

    I’ll stick to my Bud Light but I do admire your enthusiasm and would welcome such pictures in my inbox if I were one of your recipients.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. swabby429 January 24, 2023 / 6:06 am

    Do you remember Billy Beer–the one promoted by Jimmy Carter’s rascally brother? I used to have an empty Billy Beer can in my can collection, but my step-brother stole it. I’m still kind of miffed about that.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. rivertoprambles January 24, 2023 / 7:17 am

    Always great to hear another pilgrim “wax rhapsodic” about the beer revolution in the U.S. that began here probably in the ’90s. It’s a wonder to behold & quaff & to read about from someone who appreciates the cheer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 11:11 am

      My wife and I are going to dinner tonight with friends. I’m looking forward to drinking a tasty beer with the meal, for sure.


  9. Joyce Christine HAMILTON January 24, 2023 / 7:46 am

    Cool article and photos!!! My nephew also likes trying new beers and often sends me photos. Keep on trying and taking photos. Prost!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 11:14 am

      Hi Joyce. Our region is a mecca for beer geeks. The beer scene around here is amazing.


  10. Kim Smith January 24, 2023 / 8:21 am

    Even though I’m not much of a beer drinker, I often take photos of beer bottles and cans in the grocery store because they have such interesting names and artwork. I find myself buying books based on their covers, and I’m betting you’ve done the same with beers. Fun post, Neil.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 11:17 am

      Hi. Right, the designs on beer bottles and cans have risen to a new level over the last 30 or so years. And, like you say, the names too. It’s all pretty cool.


  11. Helen Devries January 24, 2023 / 8:24 am

    It might be 7.20am here, but now I want a beer….but shan’t, of course as duty calls. Later, however….
    With Belgians in the family we were spoiled for choice for beers…and Leo recalls as a boy that a sweet low strength beer was drunk with meals, delivered to the house in crates.
    A beer revolution sounds the best sort of revolution to have

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 11:19 am

      Morning, Helen. Almost nobody in my country knew about Belgian beers until the 1990s. So many Belgian beers are great.


  12. joylennick January 24, 2023 / 9:09 am

    Hi Neil, I can imagine how welcome a cool beer is on a hot day, but I’ll stick to the odd cocktail or glass of Sangria. Some imaginative names of beer-makers around…Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 11:23 am

      Howdy, Joy. Sangria is delicious. I like many wines, but don’t drink them very much. Worldwide, I wonder which is more popular . . . beer or wine?

      Liked by 1 person

      • joylennick January 24, 2023 / 1:21 pm

        Going by the company we keep, I’d say it’s a tie. Men: beer, women: wine. Our eldest son lives in Denmark, and they seem to love their beer there. I know he does…Cheers! x

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Anonymous January 24, 2023 / 9:12 am

    I am not a beer drinker, but I thoroughly enjoyed your article.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Deb January 24, 2023 / 10:15 am

    I rarely drink anymore Neil, but every so often I have a desire for a beer, usually in the summer. Craft breweries are second in line only to coffee roasters around here, which means every other city block! I do fondly remember the early days of clandestine beer parties. I knew nothing then and drank whatever was cheap!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 11:26 am

      Hi Deb. I’m glad you mentioned coffee roasters. The coffee business in our country has seen a revolution too. I guess it more or less started with Starbucks, though I’m not sure about the history of it all.


      • Deb January 24, 2023 / 11:41 am

        While SB is still huge here so many smaller roasters have grown around the whole SB image and ideal. A lot of them use sustainably sourced beans then roast and brew directly. It’s very much the small business ideal versus the big SB chain concept and what each has to offer it’s customers. I would go small every time and put SB out of business if I could!

        Liked by 1 person

      • shoreacres January 24, 2023 / 5:03 pm

        When I lived in Berkeley, Starbucks wasn’t yet a thing, but Peet’s Coffee was all the rage. The company began in 1966, just as a roaster, but eventually they started supplying various coffee shops around UC Berkeley.

        Peet sold the business to Sal Bonavita in 1979. In 1984, Jerry Baldwin, a Starbucks founder, bought Peet’s four locations from Sal Bonavita. In 1987, Baldwin and his Starbucks co-investors sold Starbucks to focus on Peet’s, and Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ new owner, entered into a four-year non-compete agreement in the Bay Area.

        I drank Peet’s my whole time in Berkeley, and developed a taste for it. I still prefer it over Starbucks.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 9:14 pm

          Hi. We use a lot of Starbucks coffees at home. I blend coffees to create the morning pot. For instance, I might combine two types of Starbucks with Melitta decaf.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. Jacqui Murray January 24, 2023 / 10:56 am

    I’ve often wished I could take up drinking–beer would do–but it makes me instantly tired, and if I hate one thing more than headaches, it’s fatigue. So I will enjoy these vicariously through you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. vprofy January 24, 2023 / 11:04 am

    Worthy project. I have former students that have opened breweries. Night Shift in Somerville MA and Forest and Main in Ambler PA.

    My sister a wine drinker was converted to beer in recent years. She loves the variety. I agree.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 11:59 am

      Hello Vincent. It’s cool that some of your students have gone into the beer business. I’ve had beers from both of the breweries you mention.


  17. Michael Graeme January 24, 2023 / 11:21 am

    It was the same here in the eighties, Neil – a reaction to mass-produced beers. They come up with some great names for them. My local favourites are Hobgoblin, Black Sheep, Sneck Lifter, Banana Bread beer, and Old Peculiar. I’m not normally a beer man, but I can always make an exception for a craft beer. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Laurie Graves January 24, 2023 / 11:41 am

    My son-in-law is a beer geek so we are steeped (or should I say brewed) in plenty of beer talk. Wonderful artwork on the cans you featured. Beer sure has come a long way since the old days.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 12:20 pm

      Bud, Miller, Coors and a couple of other brands still hold a huge percent of the USA’s beer market. But the smaller breweries have carved out a strong position with their “craft” beers.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Robert Parker January 24, 2023 / 12:34 pm

    I share your enthusiasm for good beer, even though sampling for me is an occasional thing. I see a Southern Tier in one of your pictures, they do make good stuff, Lakewood, NY. Ithaca Brewery and Brooklyn Brewery also have really nice brews if you ever see that. Out here in Wisconsin, New Glarus Brewing makes a fantastic Spotted Cow, delicious, and sometimes unusual stuff like Weizen Doppelbock which I think hits like three beers at once, but they don’t distribute it out of state.
    I like that Iron Hill can with the wild boar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 2:22 pm

      Hey there, Robert. I took a look at the New Glarus website. I hope their beers make it to Pennsylvania some day.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Fictionophile January 24, 2023 / 12:48 pm

    Although my drink of choice is red wine, I have become quite fond of beer since I retired. This is largely my husband’s fault/influence. My favorites are usually red beers. (eg. Garrison Irish Red, Rickard’s Red, etc.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 2:26 pm

      Hello Lynne. You know, Rickard’s sounds familiar to me. I think I might have had their red beer in the late 1990s when I visited British Columbia.


  21. Al January 24, 2023 / 12:56 pm

    As a Coors Light drinker (oh, the humanity!) I feel unworthy of comment but I’ve never let that stop me before. I marvel at not just your adventurous nature but also the acumen you have built up in your quest. I’ve never been able to appreciate stout or foreign beers as I am filled up with just a few sips. As a fellow geezer, I fear my delicate digestion woes will only worsen but I couldn’t go without an ice-cold beer on a hot day (or a cold day for that matter) even if it is of the junior varsity variety. Good for you for extolling their virtues to the world, it’s a dirty job but thank goodness you are up to it! Skol!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 2:35 pm

      Hi. Thanks for adding your thoughts. You’re not alone when it comes to Coors Light. Many millions of people love it. You know, the reason I limit my beer intake isn’t because of my digestive system. It’s because the alcohol goes to my head. I’d really feel it if I drank two beers in a row. And I avoid beers that are more than 6.5% alcohol by volume. A lot of beers out there are really high in alcohol (many are 9% ABV and up).


  22. Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter January 24, 2023 / 1:07 pm

    We also love a good beer, and have a good selection of microbreweries in Scotland. Bud & Miller are considered – and I don’t know if you know this phrase, so I apologise for it’s crudity – to be like making love in a punt. F*cking near water!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 2:38 pm

      Hi. A beer place I go to carries a huge selection of microbrews. I asked a worker there which is their best-selling beer. Turns out it isn’t any of the “craft” beers. I forget which one he said, but it’s either Bud Light or Miller Light, both of which the store also carries.


  23. J. Kelland Perry January 24, 2023 / 1:22 pm

    My son is in a beer club! And you obviously live by the advice: “Know your limit and stay within it.” 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 2:39 pm

      Greetings, Jennifer. I’d love to drink more beer than I do, but the alcohol would make me dizzy and tired if I did.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Paula B January 24, 2023 / 1:39 pm

    I love that your beer bottles pose for you. That goes above and beyond the call of duty; after all, their main job is merely to taste good! As a San Franciscan I have a special connection to Anchor Steam, so I especially appreciate your appreciation of it. My go-to sports meal involves a beer, so I will be hoisting one this Sunday, when our guys play your guys!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. unionhomestead January 24, 2023 / 4:43 pm

    Im not a beer drinker but I do love a good yarn, well spun, and this qualifies. Now, wine…thats another story 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  26. shoreacres January 24, 2023 / 5:13 pm

    This was such an interesting post. I’m not that much of a beer drinker, but I do occasionally indulge in a new offering from one of our local craft breweries. Saint Arnold’s the oldest craft brewery in Texas, and its beers are superb. You can scan some of their offerings here. In summer, Lawnmower’s my favorite, but there are others I really like. I wish I could send you some right now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 9:17 pm

      I’ll keep my eyes open for Texas beers. But they don’t seem to be distributed very much to Pennsylvania, which is where I live. I’m not sure why, because I commonly find beers from many states.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. JT Twissel January 24, 2023 / 5:29 pm

    When I lived in Chicago it was beer and pretzels. You can’t have a good beer without a Bavarian pretzel with mustard, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. tanjabrittonwriter January 24, 2023 / 6:06 pm

    I’m glad for you, Neil, but I can’t share your enthusiasm. I think beer is just about the worst-tasting beverage there is. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Suzanne January 24, 2023 / 6:23 pm

    I am not personally a fan of beer nor the after effects of gulping a mouthful though I do enjoy your human. Thoughts that came to the surface while reading this was the usual crates of beer at parties and the crate being used as a table in my poorer younger flatting days to a homemade beer being opened on a hot summers afternoon when Dad had finished mowing the lawns.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Suzanne January 24, 2023 / 6:25 pm

    PS Craft beers are a big thing here in New Zealand and we are nation of beer drinkers and renowned for our fabulous wines.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Monkey's Tale January 24, 2023 / 7:28 pm

    The best thing to happen to US beer is craft beers 🙂 We used to avoid drinking beer when we traveled to the US, now it’s not too bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Joni January 24, 2023 / 9:47 pm

    Nightmare on East Elm Street! Ha! I love the continual inventiveness of the names. I would have thought the craft beer market was saturated here north of the border, but more keep popping up and succeeding. I guess it goes well with Hockey Night in Canada. Incidentally, I only remember my dad drinking one beer a week, on Saturday night while watching the hockey game. We kids would have pop/soda and chips.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 24, 2023 / 11:12 pm

      The family watching hockey together on Saturday nights sounds like a lot of fun. Is hockey in Canada still as popular as ever?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni January 25, 2023 / 2:28 pm

        Yes, it’s our national sport. We have 7 big league teams, but only one baseball team. Football here exists – there’s a Canadian Football League in the fall, but most people don’t care – it’s not a big thing like in the states.

        Liked by 1 person

  33. Ann Coleman January 24, 2023 / 10:51 pm

    I used to drink beer, but as I’ve aged, I’ve mostly switched over to wine. But with all the craft beers available now, I really do need to expand my horizons and try some!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Ray Van Horn, Jr. January 25, 2023 / 8:14 am

    YARDS!!!! I’m an uber geek for Yards beer. We travel up to Philly a couple times a year to hit the taphouse and bring home cases of Yards since it’s gotten harder to find in northern Maryland, since our local micros seem to have taken exception with how successful Yards was doing in our area. The brewery tour is also worthwhile. Did it twice. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 25, 2023 / 9:02 am

      Morning. I like a bunch of their beers too. My favorite is the Philthy unfiltered IPA.


  35. Alyson January 25, 2023 / 5:17 pm

    Not batty at all. Two great pastimes, the drinking of the beer and the taking pictures of the beer. What a lovely life you have.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. annieasksyou January 25, 2023 / 5:58 pm

    I’m not into the beer milieu, but the concept of “designer” beers always tickles me, as it evokes the image of these well-dressed cans showing off their flip tops as they strut the runway. Bottoms up, Neil, Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Ally Bean January 26, 2023 / 10:19 am

    This is a fun post. I like beer, too, but have nowhere the tasting experiences you have. I hate to ask but I will, have you tried any of the new non-alcoholic beers? I see them in the stores, read about them in articles, but don’t know anyone who’s tried one.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. talebender January 26, 2023 / 2:45 pm

    My son-in-law is COO and brewmaster for Stonehooker Brewery on the shores of Lake Ontario. If you visit their website, you’ll find lots of colourful cans to photograph—-www.stonehooker.com
    I paused while reading your article to order a cold one, then enjoyed both to the end!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 26, 2023 / 4:31 pm

      Hi. I’d love to taste their beers. But they don’t ship/distribute to the States. You’re lucky to have a brewmaster in the family!

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Sandy January 26, 2023 / 7:45 pm

    Making the news here in Canada, is a new report warning that no amount of alcohol is safe to consume and recommends consuming no more than two alcoholic drinks PER WEEK. As you can imagine, it’s creating quite the controversy. I’m not a drinker myself, I have an extremely low tolerance to alcohol but even I think the guidance is a bit extreme.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Cindy January 26, 2023 / 9:24 pm

    This was a fun read–as I expected! Here’s hoping you’ll never run out of new brews to choose. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 26, 2023 / 11:34 pm

      Cindy, your comments have reminded me that I’m running low on beer. I’ll make a beer run over the next few days. Hopefully I’ll find one or two that I want and also have never had before.


  41. Mthobisi Magagula January 28, 2023 / 8:21 am

    Oh that drink looks so yummy 🍷🍸😋😋 , where I am at here in Swaziland it is extremely hot and that beer is all I need😂 to cool down🔥

    Liked by 1 person

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