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The Session #101: Stuff

The first Friday of each month brings together beer bloggers around a common topic under the banner of The Session. This month Deep Beer hosts, giving us the topic “Bottles, Caps and Other Beer Detritus”:

session

There are many great creative people involved in the beer industry: the brewers designing and creating the stuff of our attention, marketers bringing the product to market, graphic artists making the products attractive and informative and writers who tell the story of beer. The list goes on. And thus, many great products, that may or may not get your attention. The focus is on the liquid inside the bottle, can or keg, and rightly so. What about all the other products necessary to bring that beer to you? What about the things that are necessary but are easily overlooked and discarded.

An uncomfortable realization

A few years ago I had to admit to myself that I like stuff. I am a materialistic person. New toys bring me happiness. Items have sentimental value.

I am predisposed to want to collect things, to save things. I have a great affinity for stuff, trinkets, doodads and gewgaws.

And yet: stuff takes up space. I think I might have the tendencies of a hoarder. I recently pulled up to my local Amvets and unloaded an absurd number of computers, in states varying from “only missing hard drive” to “pile of random assortment of cables”. I thrust them at a hapless employee and washed my hands of them.

An abundance of stuff

As the topic for this month’s Session suggests, beer brings with it a lot of detritus. For instance, to drink a bottle of beer (at least “properly”) you’ll have:

  • one bottle
  • one bottle cap, slightly bent
  • one bottle opener
  • one glass

Stuff adds up. Especially when you have kids: I’m not the cleanest person, but the scattered bits of cheddar and sourdough on our rug didn’t come from me. Nor did the rubber duck dressed as The Flash, the one pink slipper or the plastic lion.

I appreciate that I can recycle or reuse each of the bits of flotsam created by beer, but the final resting place of everything doesn’t concern me so much as the present. Stuff leads to clutter.

“Nobody has just one growler”

If you’ve bought beer from me, you’ve heard me say that. Probably more than once. In my defense, it’s true! You either have no growlers, because you buy bottles or cans or — gasp! — wine, or you have 10. Once you’re in you’re in for life, and you find yourself at a store and see the tap lost and realize, shucks, it’s only a few bucks more…

Then one day you wake up and see your house is 50% growler. Growler walls, growler tables, even a growler chair that you use to reenact scenes from Game of Thrones.

Being an owner of a brewery has its perks: namely, that we all bring in growlers for an “owner’s collection” and take one when we need. And then forget to bring them back. Which leads to walking in to the brewery one day holding five growlers and at least as many half growlers.

Let's not even get into the glassware situation

Let’s not even get into the glassware situation

I’m a 21st century digital boy

People can say a lot of negative things about how everything’s digital these days (most of them utter crap) but the space savings from digital goods should not be among them. In high school I kept a cd booklet in my backpack full of timeless classics like Devil Without A Cause and Follow the Leader (oh come on, like you’re perfect). Now with my phone I can listen to Powerman 5000 whenever I want! At any time!

I understand the benefits that come from tangible goods. I own a Kindle but still love holding a book. But books take up space. I can have as many mp3s and cbzs and so on as I want in the same space.

Beer, though, doesn’t work that way. You wouldn’t download a pint. Well, you would. But you can’t. By its very nature beer had to be tangible.

So?

I’m not arguing against drinking beer out of bottles. Or cans, or growlers, because… then you basically have to go to a bar of you want any beer.

But I personally have no interest in brewerania. I’m glad others do! But, much like brewing itself, you really have to do it for the hobby itself and not for its proximity to beer. I’ll stick to blogging. It’s digital.