As you may have guessed, I like to think about my relationship to beer and the brewing trade. That is, at this moment, really my prime motivation for this blog. It is not so much that I need to chronical my time with beer. And it is certainly not that I think that I have any right to suggest I write like Pete does, am a beer historian like Ron or knowledgeable of the trade like Lew or Stan or that I even have ambitions to be a beer journalist like Troy. No, if this habit of writing is anything it is about me thinking about me and beer. Maybe that it takes so much writing likely speaks more to who's typing than what is being considered. I never said I was that bright.
So, being essentially a magazine about me, this sort of blogging sometimes means you have to consider what you are not. Yesterday, I dropped into Allagash to pick up my border crossing quota of a few large bottles and a two-four of their White. [By the way, when I asked for a "two-four" I was first brought a couple of four packs.] I was served a sample of their Black, a very nice stout, by a genial pouring host who turned out to be Rob Tod, owner and brewer. He was speaking with an other at the bar retail store's bar who turned out to be one of the senior guys who ran Victory in Pennsylvania, himself also on a road trip. We chatted a bit as I grabbed bottles to take with me. About how hard it was to bring US craft beer into Ontario. About how Rob was going to be doing a beer dinner in Toronto this fall. I even mentioned I was picking up another of Allagash's Victor due to my strong and unexpected reaction which had challenged my thoughts about my own taste. I had heard a new grape had been used and wanted to compare. The comment was received with interest, perhaps given the general positive reaction beer fans often provide, but also with real courtesy. In addition to touching on the challenge of storage conditions, the man from Victory (whose name I will be embarrased to be reminded of I am sure) poiinted out that beer also changes all the time due to the availability of ingredients whether the consumer knows or not. Very pleasant conversation as is usual with both brewers and Mainers. All the while, though, I was noticing that each brewer seemed to have a few more of their staff along in the next room sharing samples - and sharing at a level that was more trade than consumer. Instead of beer geekery, it reminded me more of listening to my pals in the software development business I used to hang out with: a little door was opened before me to a level I likely wouldn't really get. It wasn't so much the "hard working people working hard" that we geeks are often reminded of as quality brewers comfortably exchanging ideas.
My options seemed limited. To fawn. Or to buy and leave. I was happy with the glimpse and skee-daddled.