I have been deeply engaged and writing about the world of craft beer for about nine months now. I knew when I decided to focus my efforts on this culture and industry that there was a lot I didn't know and that I needed to learn. I soon found myself surrounded (virtually and otherwise) with other beer lovers, writers, brewers, and so on, all eager to pass on information and answer any question I had. And there was no common theme other than beer people helping other beer people. No one asked "are you a Democrat or Republican". No one cared how much money I made, if I was married, had kids, owned a home, had a good credit rating, or where I went to school. The single factor was that I liked craft beer and wanted to learn more.
Everyone I have met has a different background, comes from a different place, and has their own personal tastes and preferences when it comes to beer. Hop-heads and malt-heads, sour-lovers and "extreme" beer hunters alike love to talk about beer and their experiences... and actually listen to yours!
Recently a hashtag of #beerpeopleRgoodpeople has been circulating on Twitter, and I have to smile every time I see it. As I have gotten to know more people I am uplifted by how something as basic and seemingly simple as craft beer can bring so many people together from so many different walks of life. of course there is some healthy competition. West Coast and East Coast, Yankees and Red Sox, NorCal and SoCal, Portland and Asheville... But I have met someone great from each of those. And with each new person i meet, be it online or in person, my own knowledge and appreciation of craft beer grows. I am not only introduced to new beers, but new books, new blogs, new cities, even. I can go just about anywhere in the country at this point and probably be within a couple hours at most from a #beerpeopleRgoodpeople connection. There is something fundamentally comforting about this to me.
So my goal - long term, anyway - is to share a craft beer in person with as many of these great beer people as possible. As spread out as they all are, it is a lofty goal, but a worthy one, I think.