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The Grass is Always Greener
The beers can be too.
I have a love/hate relationship with Florida. Maybe it’s more hate/not hate as much. While this state is far from my first choice of places to live it has brought me some pretty damn good things. I met my wife here and I started my career into the beer industry here. Maybe the jury is still out if that latter item is good. Regardless, it is the industry I am in and have called home for over a decade. With all that time it is traveling outside of Florida that really become eye opening.
In my travels I don’t know how many times I have stated “We couldn’t do that in Florida. People would fuck it up.” From barrels aging beer within reach of customers to merch just sitting out for people to peruse. Damage and theft just always seem bound to happen in the dick of America. I know brewing culture, and beer in general, are newer here than other parts of the country but it just always seems like certain things will just never become normal down here.
On my most recent trip out to California it was evidenced there. Beer just seems a lot more laid back and not in a cutting corners kind of way. It comes across as laissez-faire at points. Sure, some breweries are trying super hard to be relevant but a lot more seem to take the role of being the local area beer for you to enjoy and they are cool with that. If you don’t dig them they are cool with it as well.
The same can be said for the drinkers too. The beer nerd will always be the minority but they seem to be even more so in other places. That or they just aren’t as vocal about it in public. Very rarely did I overhear people talking about the beers. Yes, I’m eavesdropping on your conversations. Always be aware. Instead they focused on conversations with friends and family about things that really matter. Like life. The brewery was a set and the beer was merely set dressing. It was there and it was involved but didn’t take center stage. People were enjoying their family outing with each other and it just so happened to be at a brewery or a beer garden. Those spots and their wares were not the all encompassing item of the visit.
It just seems when I am sitting in the taproom of my job I hear so many people talking about the beers they are having and other beers they have had and beers that they want to have. Not even a whiff of conversation about something else. Look, if that’s what makes you happy so be it. We also don’t need to force conversation. This weather huh? I’ve been there.
Maybe my vision is a little altered at this point in my life. My boys have changed a lot about how I view the world. I’m not as punk rock minded as I once was. I cringe at how I react to certain things with a very dad like approach now. Can people stop speeding on our fucking residential street? But there is just something refreshing about taking something that I really enjoy—beer and breweries—and incorporating them into my life today with my family and friends. Walking around the Russian River beer garden while one of my boys went up to dogs to give pets will be something I remember for the rest of my life. The brewery just happened to be a good setting. The beer I had in my hand will probably be forgotten in a few weeks. It was a Pliny the Elder for the record.
I know this happens here in Florida and I know I tend to look at travel as the grass always being greener. Hell, as I was leaving Russian River some guy in the parking lot that was heading in audibly shouted “They have Double Dry Hopped Pliny!” when he saw the 4 pack in my hand. It definitely works both ways. I won’t pretend otherwise.
What’s my point with all of this? I don’t think there really is one. Just saying it all somewhat out loud is therapeutic. I have often times let my distaste for Florida get in the way of enjoying things that are here. Being able to admit my biases keep me honest. We should all try that a bit.
I hope that your next brewery trip results in a fun time of conversation with good beer and even better company. How about that sports team?
Anyway, it was a great time in the San Francisco area. Good beer. Good sights. Great people. Let’s do it again someday.
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I’d Have a Beer
You know what’s funny? I spent 8 days in California and didn’t take a single picture of a beer. Not one. Not on my phone or on my camera. Kinda goes back to what I was saying before. I was just enjoying the moments. Also chasing around the kids. Here is an old shot of the beer I’m talking about.
While at Russian River I, of course, had to have a Pliny the Elder but my favorite of their non-sours is always STS Pils. Oh man, this is a pilsner 2 editions of the newsletter in a row! Oh well.
Straw gold in color with just the tiniest bit of hazy. Grainy and bread like flavors with a touch of citrus and an earthy bitterness. A dry, crisp finish. Perfection.
This beauty of a beer is one of the best pilsners on the continent. It’s like Firestone Walker Pivo, this beer and Victory Prima. They kind of interchange the order based on how I feel and how recently I’ve had one. Being that I can’t easily get my hands on any of them the best one is usually my most recent one had. So STS is king right now.
This is a Photo
San Francisco, CA
Let’s wrap up a very California heavy edition of the newsletter with even more Northern California.
This shot was take from my trip in the San Francisco Botanical Garden, located in Golden Gate Park. It’s looking northward towards the Sutro Tower on Twin Peaks. I loved the framing of the tower with the garden below.
The couple days we spent in the city were actually picture perfect weather. The fog was almost nowhere to be seen, even in the most commonly foggy neighborhoods. But nothing a little editing can’t handle to get the vibe I always enjoy in my photos.
Like my photos? I have a number shots available on my store if you want to buy a print. It’s super appreciated.
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