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Re-energizing

I found myself a little stuck tonight.

It’s Tuesday. I put up a blog post on Tuesday. And yet: the well was dry. I couldn’t think of anything, and of course the harder I tried the more I panicked, making it harder to be creative.

I just couldn’t bring myself to care about anything beer related enough to write a post about it. Not a good thing, for someone who has tasked themselves with writing about beer.

Then: inspiration struck. I could start reading Charlie Papazian’s Microbrewed Adventures, the focus of the next CBW book club (oh shit I need to order that book, my inner monologue chimed in). I quickly ordered it (phew, it continued) and then loaded up the Kindle sample while I waited for the physical book to arrive.

I looked through the collection of beer in my basement, trying to find the perfect complement to Papazian, the genial bearded face of the American homebrewing movement. I settled on the final bottle of Hamburg’s Irish Red, as that seemed like a good fit for the early portion of the book: fairly “standard”, not incredibly hoppy or obscure or challenging to drink, but a solid, rich, malty beer. I poured it into one of those glasses-shaped-like-a-beer-can that are all the rage now, feeling somewhat anachronistic, and set about reading.

For my actual thoughts on the book, well, come to the book club. You gotta buy this cow. (that’s a gross metaphor, the inner monologue continues) But, more broadly:

Charlie Papazian is American brewing’s Stan Lee. I say “brewing” and not “homebrewing” because nearly all of us started with a five gallon plastic bucket chugging away in a basement or closet, didn’t we? And while the internet has made it easy to find all the brewing advice you could ever want, and then more, so much advice, most of it conflicting or dated or full of words and acronyms you don’t know, I’d wager that a good number of us started with a copy of his The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. Pictures of him smiling while transferring beer in a kitchen that is obviously at least 30 years old. Anecdotes about burying mead to let it age (you should still do that, I.M. chimes in. that sounds awesome)

If we ever found a way to make brewing into a cinematic universe (I’m still working on So You Think You Can Mash, except for the part where you have to wait three weeks after the elimination challenge has been performed before you can actually eliminate anybody), well, Charlie Papazian would have a cameo in each movie. Fictional Jim Koch would sit down at a bar after a hard day’s work selling his new Sam Adams Lager and, from offscreen, you’d hear the bartender say “Rough day? Why not try one of these new Samuel Adams?” and it would be Charlie Papazian. Cue knowing smiles from the audience.

I don’t agree with everything he’s said or written, but then he has been saying and writing things longer than I’ve been alive, so. Hardly seems fair. As far as being an energetic, approachable face to the hobby-cum-profession of so many of us? You couldn’t ask for a better one.

I needed some Papazian tonight, because I felt uninspired. Lacking joy. For completeness’ sake I chose Flying Bison’s Spot Coffee Stout to drink for the writing-this half of the night, because a beer that spits in the face of the Reinheitsgebot also seems to be up his alley. I look forward to reading more of his book, and drinking more beer, because I’ve been given the boost I needed.

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