Ode’ To Craft Beer
The first beer I ever had was Old Milwaukee. It was mid summer and I was about 12 years old. My parents didn’t drink, but I had a friend who’s parents did. He smuggled a couple of bottles out of the house when his father wasn’t looking, and we put them in the creek to chill. When we finally drank them, they weren’t as cold or as tasty as I thought it would be.
When I turned eighteen I could legally purchase beer, (the law hadn’t been changed to 21 yet) but having very little money, I mostly bought and drank Red White and Blue, and Black Label beer because they were the cheapest beer you could buy. I especially liked Black Label. Being brewed in Canada meant it was “imported”, and it was also only $1.88 a six-pack.
I eventually got a decent job and began earning a decent wage. I had loved the Smoky and the Bandit movies so when Coors finally became available locally, that became my beer of choice. However, my friends all drank Miller Lite and Bud Lite, so I eventually switched to drinking what everyone else was drinking. And honestly? I was happy.
Then sometime in my late 20’s I was sitting in a bar and a friend pushes a pint of what looked like coffee to me and said “Try this.” and despite serious reservations I did.
And then something called Guinness forever changed the way I though about beer- forever.
I was completely blown away. The aroma, flavor, and texture were amazing. Where once I was blind, now I could see. And I noticed there were other beers on tap. Killian’s Irish Red, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and many, many more.
In 2011, my home town of Richmond, Virginia had 1 brewery. Today, there are 30 breweries in the Richmond area, with 4 more set to open within the next few months!
Virginia craft beer is amazing! However, I occasionally have to leave Virginia, and you know what I found? Nearly every place I go, they have their own craft breweries, and they are brewing some pretty amazing beer there too!
Now days when I plan a trip, the first thing I do is check out the local craft beer scene, and make sure the place I am staying is near its center!
No matter where I go, or why I am going there, I know I will get thirsty, so why not make sure the best places to quench that thirst are near by?
I can’t think of a better way to learn about a place than having a locally hand-crafted brew with the people who live there.