Yesterday was National Beer Day in the United States. Unlike most random “national” holidays this one has some roots in history. April 7th, 1933 ended the incredibly harmful prohibition of alcohol… well, sort of. You could only buy beer with less than 4.05% ABV (alcohol-by-volume), but it was a step in the right direction. Prohibition of alcohol, just like prohibition of drugs today, always makes things worse.
As my Facebook friends, my coworkers, and my family know, I love beer. My coworkers usually see me purchase a couple of beers a night and I probably drink 1-2 every night. My mother is worried I am an alcoholic. It isn’t about the alcohol though, I don’t buy and drink beer to get drunk. To me, it is an appreciation of an artform. It is experiencing the hard work, experimentation, creativity, and diversity created by another person. As I have started brewing my own beer I have come to appreciate the nuances and variety that comes in the form of an amber ale.
I realize this is one of the trappings the Stoics wrote about. Becoming a snob in a certain area means the endless pursuit of something better, richer, more rewarding. It is a never-ending quest because you can never really catch them all (just ask Ash). Whether it is beer, video games, comic books, Magic cards, porn videos, rare coins, visiting new restaurants, or whatever other hobbies exist, the pursuit of the new instead of the appreciation and enjoyment of what you have can create dissatisfaction.
I don’t think I’ve fallen into that trap yet. Maybe I will someday, but for right now I am very happy enjoying a wonderful beer for the taste. Yes, I try to buy new ones regularly, but I am also happy to abstain from drinking or turning to an old favorite. Brewing is an artform to be appreciated, analyzed, and hopefully shared with friends. I’m sure the brewers around the world who provide this wonderful creation are happy to know that their work is enjoyed and they are appreciated.