The Mount Rushmore of Beer

Trivia Question: How many people died during Mount Rushmore’s carving?

  • A) 0
  • B) 1
  • C) 8
  • D) 27
  • E) 116

Answer at the end of the post!

Hey guys. Some friends and I are each writing a post about who we’d put on our Mount Rushmore of Beer. This post is entirely about my beer idols, not the four biggest beer influencers ever for everyone. These four individuals should have their heads cast in stone in the Black Hills of South Dakota that will last probably until season three or four whatever that History Channel show is about what would happen if everyone died.

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Some Dreams Shouldn’t Come True

New Belgium 2 Below

New Belgium 2 Below

In January 2010 I was somewhere outside of Aspen, Colorado with my ex-Navy videographer coworker. We had been wondering around Aspen for three days waiting for it to snow so we can grab some snow footage for a video we were putting together. The radar was clear with no precipitation in sight and I was able to convince him that we should go out for a drink that night.

I was only 8 months removed from slamming down Natties in college and was just beginning to come around to craft beer. My eyes were beginning to open after a recent trip to Wilmington, North Carolina where I was exposed to “local beer” for the first time. Well, at this point in my life traveling to Aspen was about 5x further than anywhere I’ve ever been before and figured why not see if this place has something local.

The bar was decently packed for a weeknight. It was dimly lit and there was a bluegrass band jamming away at the rear wall. The Denver Nuggets game was on a few of the TVs. It was a close game from what I remember. I asked the bartender for something I couldn’t get at home and he poured me a New Belgium 2° Below. He told me I’d enjoy it.

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The Greatest Menorah Story Ever Told (and my small role in it)

My Menorah - Mazel

My Menorah – Mazel

As you light your menorah for the final nights of this year’s Festival of Lights, I want you to think of Rudy and his moose menorah. Even if you don’t spin the dreidel, this story is for you if you believe in determination, perseverance, never giving up and the creation of an heirloom that’ll be passed down for generations.

I’ve never met Rudy. He’s some guy on the Internet. A college kid (I think) in Pennsylvania (I think). You’re going to hear his story in a minute but first you need to understand what a small world it is and how this almost didn’t happen, my role at least.

When Rudy reached out to me I probably would have told the kid “no thanks” and nothing more. However I happened to glance through some of his recent tweets and recognized a handle of a guy who is a loyal reader of my other site. Apparently they are good friends. This other guy had no idea that Rudy was reaching out to me and Rudy had no idea I knew his friend. Small freaking world. I told Rudy I’d help him however I could instead of the “no thanks” he would have otherwise gotten since I saw that they’re friends.

If it wasn’t for seeing that he’s buddies with one of my readers than maybe this whole story for Rudy could have turned out differently.

I turn it over to Rudy:

My friends – As we head out to celebrate the holidays with family and friends I want to remind you that anything is possible. I’m shocked and honored every time someone reads this blog. You are a constant reminder to me that anything is possible. Thank you for that. I hope you have Happy Holidays, lots of laughs and more than your fair share of good beer.

Cheers.

Beer blogging has ______ my relationship with beer.

Beer blogging has __________ my relationship with beer. I sit here thinking about this prompt that me and some fellow Mid-Atlantic Beer Bloggers are supposed to write about and have no clue where to go with it. Can you humor me and let me work this out as I just type my thoughts?

Beer blogging has ignited my relationship with beer. This is 100% true. Before blogging I wasn’t as interested in brewing techniques and ingredients of certain styles. I’ve become a Certified Beer Server and started studying for BJCP. I care about who brews my beer and strive to meet the folks who do.

Beer blogging has enhanced my relationship with beer. For a long time I didn’t feel like a part of the craft beer community. I’m still an outsider in the industry but nearly two years into writing my thoughts on the subject and making some dear friends along the way I feel like I’m finally a member of the larger community. The relationships I’ve built through beer are priceless that could only have been created through beer blogging. Beer, through these individuals, has been enhanced.

Beer blogging has jaded my relationship with beer. Yep. I get pissed sometimes when I see people drinking Pliny like I drink Bell’s Two-Hearted (even though they are viewed roughly the same on each coast from what I hear). I get upset when I’m out and want to pair my dinner and my only “craft” option is Sam’s Seasonal. I get angry when the manager’s “special draft” is like Shiner Bock. Without blogging I wouldn’t know about Pliny, I’d be happy to pair any fish with Sam’s Summer Ale and gladly pay $6.59 for that Shiner Bock.

Beer blogging has pledged my relationship with beer. Not sure if that makes grammatical sense but let’s run with it. Beer blogging has made me make a pledge to beer. I pledge to respect it (think about who brewed it, don’t drink and drive, that sort of stuff). I pledge to improve it (channel my inner Hipster Brewfus and call out things that aren’t up to the quality they should be). I pledge to help grow it (help out my local craft beer community and the larger craft beer industry as an ambassador).

Out of the examples above if I’m to choose the most dramatic/important one in my life it has to be enhanced because of the relationships I’ve made. In the post-college world it is extremely difficult to make friends outside of your existing social and work circles. Beer blogging has made that possible and in turn made my relationship with beer more enhanced because these like-minded people teach me about beer and push me to be a better blogger/community member/person/etc.

So bloggers I ask you, beer blogging has done what to your relationship with beer? If you’re not a blogger or a new blogger, what do you think beer blogging would do to your relationship with beer?

This post is part of multiple essays from Mid-Atlantic beer bloggers focusing on how we feel blogging has impacted our relationship with beer. Make sure to check out these posts, too:

Douglas Smiley of Baltimore Bistros and Beer

Bryan Roth of This Is Why I’m Drunk

Jake Scholan of Hipster Brewfus

Oliver Gray of Literature and Libation

Liz Murphy of Naptown Pint

Adventure Awaits

Down 14th Street in DC there are still Washington Nationals “Welcome to October” banners hanging from lampposts. They remind me of heartbreak each morning and afternoon when I see them. Each one has a different player on it. This afternoon a woman looking for Bryce Harper stopped me. Her 11-year-old son, Big G, is writing a paper on him for school. He is apparently a superstar little leaguer in Fredericksburg, VA. If somehow by the grace of the internet gods Big G ever sees this post I want him to know that he has a good mom. She saw the banners and wanted to get a picture of Bryce for his assignment. We walked nearly two blocks passing Ian Desmond, Denard Span (my personal favorite), Jason Werth, Wilson Ramos, Adam LaRoche and finally Bryce Harper. She thanked me and I continued my walk to the bus. This whole time I kept thinking of my long forgotten Beer Missions and my upcoming trip to Japan.

I leave for Japan in what feels like no time. Between going to a baseball game (which it so happens Bryce Harper was supposed to play in), Mt. Fuji, eating as much sushi as I am able to and a ton of other activities I plan on hitting up some local craft breweries and bottle shops. Here’s a premature shout out to Diana who sent me some recommendations.

I have never been out of the country. I’ve spent 27+ wonderful years within the borders of the US of A. I’ve never had a beer outside of America. I’ve never had an American beer in another country. I’ve never had a beer brewed in another country other than the USA in that country. I feel like I should get some sort of Life Achievement Badge once I touchdown in Japan (I guess that’s what my passport is for). I have no clue what to expect. But I hope I take some lessons learned from Beer Missions and explore.

Beer, among its endless list of qualities, creates bonds between people. It extends beyond the bounds of language, borders and culture. I have no idea what to expect, but it should amount to a good time and new memories.

I’ll be back in a couple weeks with a new post about my Japan journeys. Until then, I hope you break out of your comfort zone and make some new memories along with me. Cheers, y’all!

P.S. If I’m somehow able to get to WiFi and check in a beer from Japan, I expect you to toast me or we’re no longer friends. Got it?