Thursday, May 7, 2009

Beer and everyday life

Jeff Alworth over at Beervana has some interesting thoughts about beer's place in everyday life:

A week or two ago, I was in the County Cork after work having a pint and a lentil burger. In that sun-suffused neighborhood pub, eleven tables were occupied and in the room, eight of the patrons were children under ten. They were accompanied by their parents, nearly all of whom were also having a pint, and by seven, seven-thirty, they had all departed, mostly by foot. Of the many ways in which to gauge what a "beer city" really is, I can think of no better marker. If you have local pubs where families go to dine and enjoy locally-made craft beer, you have deep penetration into the culture of the town. You have young parents who are beer fans and who are rearing their children to regard beer not as a vice, but a healthy, wholesome part of the diet and the pub as a healthy, happy place to see members of your community. The health and roots of such a beer community are robust and sturdy and will support the creation and consumption of local beer for decades to come.

He was talking about Portland. Yet this seems to me a fairly close approximation of what Durango is like at its best. Durango breweries attract their fair share of asinine tourists and college binge drinkers, but they also attract a lot of locals who just like to enjoy a pint.
Alworth touches on beer "not as a vice" but part of everyday life. We need to move toward that, toward a healthy relationship with alcohol that is neither abstemious nor overindulgent, and away from binge-drinking culture. Breweries, I think, do encourage a healthy relationship with alcohol. Most of their patrons aren't going to follow up their pint with a night of Jaeger shots, drunken-driving, wife-beating and child neglect.

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