The Community of Craft Beer

Bev Blackwood - We're all in this together.

I am privileged to enjoy the company of brewers.It’s a community that is, for the most part, supportive of one another, collaborative and above all friendly.It’s easy to assume that the main reason we are all friendly is that there’s beer involved!After all, that’s what makes beer drinking in Germany so much fun, you plunk yourself down at a trestle table in a bier hall and other people start filling in around you, laughing, joking and suddenly, it’s a party!(Even if you don’t understand German, it’s amazing how much fun you can have…)

But that friendly attitude isn’t just about drinking beer, it’s about how you value and how you treat your fellow human beings. That’s important, since brewers really don’t make beer, we make yeast food.It’s the yeast that do the work (some would say the magic) of converting our hard work into beer!That’s important, since yeast are living creatures.It was once noted that in one sixty-barrel fermenter of beer at high krausen, there are more yeast cells present than human beings that have ever lived.As a brewer, you have to care for your yeast or you won’t make good beer and I believe that nurturing instinct helps brewers get along better than most folks and makes us friendlier by nature. 

Brewers are collaborative because there really aren’t any secrets in the brewing community.It’s a process that has been around for thousands of years and has been studied and documented many times over the centuries.Monks were among the most educated brewers of their time, so is it any wonder they learned how to make the some of the world’s best beers?I once thumbed through a doctoral thesis about the uptake of moisture in malting barley that was bigger than most dictionaries. Brewing is not a secret world, it’s just science.Brewers support one another (at least in the craft beer world) because we want to see one another succeed and to grow the craft.Deriding a fellow brewer accomplishes nothing, as the person drinking their beer today may be trying yours tomorrow!Giving beer drinkers a wide range of flavors, making sure the beer is fresh, clean, properly carbonated and winning over new beer drinkers should be the goals of every brewer.Competition is healthy, but not at the expense of the still growing craft beer industry.

I brewed at my local homebrewing shop, DeFalco’s yesterday.It’s something our club, the Foam Rangers does to support the shop and recruit new members.I like to say that Scott Birdwell, the owner, will forget more about beer than I’ll ever know and he’s been my mentor since my very first batch of beer.It was a beautiful afternoon, with good friends dropping by to share a beer or two while I created my yeast food.This morning I awoke to a thin fine white foam coating the surface of my Belgian-style Golden Strong ale.I’m privileged to enjoy the company of brewers… and now I get to watch them at work!

The Author:

Bev Blackwood II is the Southwest Brewing News Contributing Editor for Texas and has been covering Texas beers for 17 years An award winning home brewer, Bev has also brewed professionally at St. Arnold Brewing Company and was part of the team that brought home Saint Arnold’s first Great American Beer Festival gold medal in 2007. A long time member of Houston’s premiere homebrew club, the Foam Rangers, Bev teaches their Beer Judge Certification Program course and has also taught at Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

Continue the Discussion