The Pursuit of Booze and Adventure:
How the Beer Scene Sucked Me In.
Growing up in Northern California I was less aware of the beer scene than anything; wineries and orchards were a much more normal part of my Sonoma County upbringing. I grew up in a home where I was encouraged to explore and travel and from Junior High I can consciously remember pursuing foreign language studies, international politics and constantly feeling like I knew the least in the group of my peers. Because of this ‘pursuit of experience’ and my own personal insecurities I have been fortunate to have been able to take advantage of some amazing opportunities.
And that is how I have found myself drinking, partying, picnicking, wandering, couch surfing, hostel crashing, train taking, backpacking, and perusing countries abroad and across my own home country, ‘Merica.
If you are given free rein to travel, and given the means to direct your own path and moral compass, then two things happen: you become addicted to traveling and you also become a bit of a planning and control freak; counterproductive traits and yet if you can balance them like a good Gemini something insane might become of it.
After graduating college from CSU Monterey Bay I decided that, unlike most Californians, I could learn a thing or two from the rest of the country. I had already spent a summer in New Orleans and a summer in Europe and a month on the East Coast, so I applied for graduate studies in Illinois. And got in. And then drove there after making a stop off at my Dad’s house and of course Vegas before making a straight shot out of Colorado Springs to Peoria, IL with Patrick’s drunk ass in my passenger seat. That’s how my Midwest experience began; and it ended only after I had lived in Tennessee and Berlin during my 2 year program because I found the state “Illinois-ing”. Before I graduated I called all my friends to see who would bail me out of the Heartland and Carmen said “Come on” to Philadelphia. There’s no way you can say no to a Southern Belle who invites you to her East Coast apartment to ‘get on your feet’ in a new state; at least I always succumb to her encouraging demands.
So when I arrived in the City of Brotherly Love I did what most people do and hit the streets looking for whatever work was available. I was working as a line prep, a server at a bistro, and a cashier at the distributor, all within ten days of arriving; I was on my feet at my own place by the end of the month. Although I had just recently obtained a Master’s degree I was so burnt out from the last two years and the job scene to the extent that I was perfectly content doing my hustle.
I started volunteering to pour beer at the beer fests and soon got to know styles and brands and began to realize the extent of the beer scene in Philly. I was pumped. I sure did not have any clue that this craft beer scene was just as expansive, if not more so, than the wine scene from NorCal, which is really the only thing I know what to compare it to.
After living in Philly for the past year, and having some insane and ridiculous experiences as well as meeting some of the dopest individuals I think it’s time that everyone can be in on it. The craft beer scene is blowing up across the US and with the economy the way it has been this type of creativity and inter-industry support system is very special. I want to thank all of the individuals who have helped me to cultivate my craft beer knowledge to this point and I hope that everyone can enjoy these stories which are excerpts from my beer-scene lifestyle. Here’s to the brewers and bar owners and servers and cashiers and managers and dishwashers: the working class and those of us who really need that shift beer after work. This is for the locals and those who are working towards their dreams in this beverage industry: I hope you laugh heartily and have a beer foam-stache more often than not. Sláinte!