What do we think about when we think about beer? Major brewing companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on billboard and television advertisements to ensure that images of beautiful women and good times come to mind in the consciousness of every male when thinking about drinking. Other advertisements aim their sights on the ladies, telling them they can work on their buzz at a rate of only one calorie per can.
I choose a different perspective. As I hold a pint of amber ale against the light, it brings to life a beautiful tradition as old as history itself. The Gilgamesh Epic is regarded as one of the first great works of literature and tells a story of evolution from the primitive to cultured man. It also tells of brewing beer. Chinese records dating back 5,000 years carry accounts of brewing. Pharaoh Ramses II was a beer drinker. The Egyptian Book of the Dead makes reference to brewing, and the Romans were known to knock back a few as well. St. Nicholas of Myra was a well regarded brewer, better known as the fat man who slides down your chimney once a year. If you’ve ever wondered what monks did day in and day out all those centuries, this is a hint.
When I look at a beer I see a work of art. I see creativity at its finest; every recipe as distinctive as the thumbprint of its brewer. Nothing has ever mirrored it and we will never see an exact copy. Different recipes are born from all over the world, each and every one as unique as its coordinates on a map. Yet, all beer shares one characteristic that will never fade; they are all 90% water. As different as they may seem, be it through color or taste, they are all overwhelmingly the same. It is a mere 10% that makes them different, and it is within that 10% that a countless number of truly unique creations will come to be.
As the tap eases forward and opens the spout, each glass is filled with this rich history and beauty to be enjoyed with each taste. While I participate in one of the oldest cultural norms known to humankind, I like to think about how we are all born 90% water. As different as we may seem – as different as some would like us to be – we are all overwhelmingly the same. It is a mere 10% that makes us different, and beer reminds me that these differences should bring us together, like friends sitting down to a few drinks, appreciating life and warm conversation. It is these differences that make life worth the experience.
I see a world where so many people fail to recognize that we should embrace our differences. I try to live each day showing people the value in diversity, and the strength in realizing that we are all so much the same. Beer reminds me of this, and for that I believe in beer.
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