Beer and Fellowship

[Puddin’s note: Welcome to Guest Week! I was expecting to write a short intro for each of our guest bloggers, but it seems that Josh, the first vict…er…volunteer, has that covered pretty well already.  While all of the guests are people I’ve met via Twitter, Josh is one of the two that I’ve actually met in real, live person.  I hope you enjoy his post, and be sure to check out his blogs too!]

Howdy folks. I was asked to provide some middle relief for Puddin while he takes a bit of time off for some various word-related, non-Puddintopia work today. My credentials? I own and write for the blogs A Boy and His Books and A Beer a Day. Neither are as interesting, witty or as well-written as Puddintopia, so you’ll have to deal with my terrible mangling of the English language today. I also am a contributor to CincyVoices, where you can find some amazing commentary and writing from some amazing people who are not me.

Now that I have your attention: why am I here? Using Jason’s own words, I am “…the newlywed, young, urban anti-Puddin”. If he would have added hip, he could have nailed the entire package (I kid, I kid). What could we possibly have in common? It turns out, quite a bit. He is a reader of good books, a firm believer in common sense, a Twitterererer (never know when to stop), and a lover of good beer. All of those aspects contribute to why I’m on your screen today, but the last bit is probably the most contributing factor.

I first “met” Jason online some time last year after admiring his writing for Hoperatives. I had no idea who he was or even that he had his own blog, but I knew he liked beer (and not the kind that has no taste so it can be chugged from a can more easily) and he seemed like a decent enough guy. We shot the breeze over Twitter talking about beer here and there and actually met up in person at last year’s Cincy Winter Beerfest. That happens to be the last time we’ve met “in real life”, but the damage was done. It seems like at least once a week I’m asking him advice on beers to pick up or vice-versa. Only something as seemingly silly as fermented malt juice could make such quick acquaintances out of such disparate characters.

I’ve found that this is often the case. I’ve shared and talked beer with people that I would probably never otherwise associate with or maybe even actually dislike and had a great time doing it. In fact, some of the greatest examples of fellowship I’ve experienced so far during my short life have been at beer tastings or beer events where I knew only one or two people going into it. There’s just something about beer that makes people cordial and gregarious (in addition to the alcohol, of course).

I know for a fact that it makes me more sociable. To my wife’s chagrin, I have a couple boxes of special bottles of beers that I would never consider opening by myself. Like any other great, worthwhile experience, I want to share these with someone so more than just myself can get some enjoyment out of them. And it’s not just me: unbeknownst to most casual beer drinkers, Cincinnati has a collection of some of the most amazingly generous tasting groups that I could ever imagine. In a craft beer scene where bottles are getting more and more limited, more and more expensive, and more and more hyped, I’ve found that most are not hoarding these beers. These people are aching to share their their hobby and their experiences with people they know will enjoy them just as much. Ask Jason how many times I’ve bugged him to cross the Ohio and come visit me to share some beers I’ve been holding onto. He’ll tell you it’s not a small number. One day he’ll even do it; I promise.

I suppose I’ll leave you with this. Yeah, beer is great. But think of the best experiences of your life. Were you alone during them? I’m not going to compare even the best beer to a memorable vacation or watching your son or daughter graduate from high school, but even small, special moments are better enjoyed with company. So when you’re drinking the usual suspects watching Monday Night Football or cracking something special from the cellar, call a friend over. You’ll both get to enjoy some (hopefully) good beers and, even better, some good company.

And now I’m off to drink some beer with strangers.