BrewYork, March 2010 photo by Joe Postma

Something special happens when people clink a glass or break bread together.  It’s primal.

I was reminded of this when I read a post on called “Beer People are Good People”.  Peter, the author, made the point that some of the most generous people he’s come across are in the beer world.  And it got me thinking…what if it’s not the love of beer that bonded them together, but the fact that he probably had shared a pint with them in the past?

I recently met Peter, along with a diverse group of homebrewers, beer bloggers and all around hop-geeks at a monthly meeting of a group called “BrewYork“.  Never having spoken in person, I was a bit apprehensive sitting down at a table with a large group who seemed to know each other quite well, and I was a bit nervous.  Would we get along?  Would we have anything to talk about?  Would I would have to shank a fool?

I brought my requisite two beers and sat down timidly.  And in mere moments, the conversation was flowing.  I soon thought, these are my people!  Our eyes were eagerly darting around the table at the bottles of beer like kids voraciously scanning their presents under the tree, and the excitement was palpable.  We were in search of new beers, new flavors and new friends.   And over the next few hours, we formed a bond.  But was it the love of beer that bonded us or the experience of drinking together?

BrewYork, March 2010 photo by Joe Postma

If you look at pub culture in England or listen to people asking each other, “wanna get a drink or a bite after work?,” you’ll see its a uniting force.  The mere act of sitting down together to eat and drink creates bonds.

I was shocked when I lived in England to learn that, be you drinker or non-drinker, everyone went to the pub.  It was the heart of the community.  It’s where business was done, gossip was shared and relationships were cemented.  It was a beautiful thing.  (The mixing of cider and lager, aka “the snakebite”, however, was perhaps the most god-awful elixir ever created by man).

It must go back to the days of humans running around in disparate groups, chasing Woolly Mammoths across the plains and squatting by the fireside for warmth.  In times of trouble, opposing groups would sit down, pass roasted meats between themselves and share sips from their sheep-stomach wineskins and all would be well.

Just look at President Obama.  We all said, “a beer summit? Is he fucking serious?”  But you know what?  He was on to something and it eased tensions.  Smart man.  (Granted, he drank Bud Light.  I mean, really?  Of all the beers you could choose, Obama?  Really!?  But that’s for another day…)

So, with that in mind, I propose you reach out to your enemies, invite them to hunt down an antelope and roast it over a fire while passing around some craft beer (which you must drink out of appropriate glassware, of course.  What are you, savages?)  You’ll be friends in no time.


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