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!