Over the weekend I was asked the following question from a friend of mine, “Do you still homebrew or are you just a craft beer advocate now?” My initial reaction was to correct his use of advocate with enthusiast as that is how I often label myself but I hesitated at correcting him. Having given it further thought I suppose that I am a craft beer advocate over just an enthusiast.
Thinking deeper about the distinction I would argue that I am both. Certainly I am an enthusiast which is obvious to anyone who knows me. Not only do I derive a strong sense of enjoyment from the consumption of finely craft beers, I further enjoy exploring and sharing the experience of visiting breweries, festivals, home brewing, and just sharing a pint with friends.
Yet I am not content to enjoy this heavenly nectar in the form of water, barley, and hops. No, instead I want to share my passion and enjoyment with others. To introduce them to something as varied as it can be delicious. To show them a world that seemingly has something for everyone. This should have been more obvious as Mike, Jesse, and I started the Blind Tiger Podcast to share our knowledge, our wisdom, our experiences, and our “professional” opinion so that novice craft beer enthusiasts could better navigate a vast and often unforgiving landscape of craft beer.
In the spirit of being an advocate I wanted to start a new series of posts on a way to better promote and/or advocate for craft brewing. Things that you can do to help convince that wine drinker or Budweiser loyalist to dab a toe into the world of craft brewing. Not to mix metaphors or anything.
This weekend marked the end of my 32nd orbit around the sun and I celebrated it in one of my personal favorite ways; a craft beer party.
How does a craft beer party work? The barest, most basic way to have such a party is to invite a bunch of friends, require that they all bring a six-pack of their favorite or random craft beer with them as admission to the party, donate those beers to a publicly common stockpile of beer and then have guess pick beers to sample.
My friend Dan built a beer “trough” for just this purpose that I borrowed for my birthday craft beer fest. Loaded up with six packs, samplers, and random bottles of whatever people found we had well over 40 different types of beers from all over the nation for people to drink. The upside being that most likely you weren’t going to be able to drink just the beers that you brought as others were likely to try a few of your beers and thus, despite an enthusiasm for a particular beer, guests were going to have to go outside their normal alcoholic comfort zones and sample other things.
Stepping things up a notch you could turn such a party into a tasting. My friends, unsurprisingly are mostly craft beer enthusiasts to some degree and were happy sampling full beers at a time. But there is nothing limiting one to not having sampling glasses and trying most, if not all, new beers brought to such a party.
Using websites like untappd.com you can even encourage people to get into thinking about the beer they are drinking on a more critical level, tracking the beers they like/dislike, and getting into the social aspects of sharing new beers with each other or finding friends with similar palates.
It is opportunities like this that are low pressure, inclusive, and festive that can really urge someone who doesn’t normally have an independent interest in craft beer into at least trying something new in the hopes of sparking a passion. Though as Mike and I discussed at length in our upcoming episode, sometimes an introduction has to be crafted to the one being introduced.
The party was a smashing success and I think all goers found something they enjoyed drinking. So don’t hesitate to consider having a craft beer party as a possible theme of your next get together.