We live in a world that is becoming increasingly less diverse. Languages are dying by the minute as indigenous peoples become modernized. Dialects are getting watered down by the influx of media. Local color in every nook and cranny of the world is under assault from the far reach of corporate brand-washing.
A beautiful reaction to this assault on regional culture has been the local economy movements of farmer’s markets, art communities, and independently owned businesses.
But by far, the most celebratory movement to preserve the identity of local regions is the craft beer movement, and it’s a full swing revolution at this point.
In Maine, for example, we live in a land of craft beer abundance. Every time I pull up a stool at a Portland watering hole, my eyes fall on a new tap or a 22 ounce bottle. And here’s the best part: it’s all amazing beer. Have you had a Maine Brewing Company Peeper? Their mouthful-of-hops Lunch? How about a Rising Tide Zephyr? Baxter Brewing Phantom Punch Winter Stout anyone? Winter Session Ale from Peak Organic? New Guy IPA from Atlantic Brewing Company? Can I interest you in an Oyster Stout from Marshall Wharf Brewing Company? Or maybe a Full Throttle Double IPA from Sebago Brewing Company?
I need to stop. This list is making me really thirsty. The best part about the list above? There are so many beers I left out. I heard the other day that over twenty new breweries are set to open this year in Maine. Twenty.
And that’s just Maine. Drive over the New Hampshire border and you have a new list of beers all idiosyncratic to their region. I’m biased to hopped up beers, so the Smuttynose Finestkind IPA is a must when I’m in the Granite State. Head to Vermont and enjoy a Heady Topper from the Alchemist Brewery. These beers both define and are defined by their region. Not something Budweiser can boast.
From New England to the Pacific Northwest, the micro beer movement is a safeguard against corporate banality. While the diversity of local culture is shrinking, it’s expanding on the libation front.
We are lucky to live in the golden age of beer. Each day we should raise a glass to the Microbrew Renaissance of the twenty-first century. The Great Beer Awakening is upon us. The gas pedal is pressed to the floor. The engine is humming. Get strapped in, grab a pint, and enjoy the beer utopia in whatever region you live in.
Your community is depending on you to do your part. And, damn is it a tasty role.