Monday, July 20, 2009

Know When To Stop Talking About Beer

It was a casual gathering at a friend of a friends house and I didn't know many of the people in the room. I padded over to a couple that seemed open to new conversation. They introduced themselves and I, me and then I immediately forgot their names.
After some small chit chat I launched into what I believed was a interesting story about instant non-alcoholic beer which dove-tailed nicely into a another anecdotal tale of light American lager, when halfway through my soliloquy about early American brewing history I noticed a suppressed yawn contorting the face of the person I'm talking to, an astute observation considering how captivated I was with my own story. I paused in mid sentence, at a loss for words and at once directionless. I sputtered some nonsense about the extensive cheese platter on a nearby table in an effort to change the subject. The person leaped at the opportunity to make the break towards a new line of interest and simultaneously, physically backed away from me trying to catch the eye of someone across the room.

Slightly embarrassed, I turned and made my way slowly over, and sidled up to, a new group of people and listened silently to their conversation. As I caught the drift of what was being said, I noticed how each comment led me silently down my solitary path onto some beer related subject. Someone mentions an overgrown shrub at their house and I think,
"yeah, but did you know that very bush you speak of was used to flavor beer before hops were discovered, and that...?"

But I stop myself from speaking because, at least for the moment, I am aware of my tendency to over share my obsession with complete strangers in the belief that if they just examine their hearts, beer and brewing beer is a deep seated passion that lies dormant in them until the right beer related monologue provokes it from its slumber.

As the evening goes on, the conversations continue and without a hint of beer related drama I am bored. Not just bored, but impatient. I restlessly listen. Is it really necessary to talk about Jackie's recent lay-off because of the economic crisis or the unusually high temperatures in the valley caused by global warming, when the subject of beer is so much more interesting? My mind wanders. I look at the brown bottle in my hand, beads of condensation playing down the side.
"This beer I'm drinking would be a good one to brew at home. I wonder if there is a clone recipe out there for it, maybe online?"
I look up, did I say that out loud?No one is looking at me.
I smile at the person speaking without hearing a word they say, it's monotone, more of a dull braying, like the brass section of New Orleans band leading a funeral procession.

"What are we talking about?" I think.

"Why is her hair that color? It's the color of a dunkelweizen isn't it?

Would it be inappropriate to tell her that?"


The conversation goes on but seems to lack passion. Where's the spark, the magic? I don't have time for this.

But wait, over by the kitchen, who's that picking through the cooler looking for a cold one? As I head over for a closer inspection I judge by his look of cautious disdain at the selection of light American lagers that he may know something about beer. I'll wait though. Let him come to me.He wanders over, a 'Coors lite' in hand and we make eye contact and exchange "hello's."
"What are you drinking there?" I ask.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've learned that when people ask what an IPA is, I should NOT start with "Back when British troops where in India ...". All they really want to hear is "It has more hops". Then if they seem interested I'll explain what more hops do. And if they are _still_ interested, then its "Back when British troops ..."

The cartoon must be an older picture, I don't think your gut is that big any more :)

Enjoy
Shane

mark said...

Shane,
that's a good technique for weeding out the uninterested. The cartoon is recent but since my wife is the artist she feel like she has license to take liberty.

Anonymous said...

I love when someone would ask me what kind of beer is that and I say, "it's an IPA" and they say, "I never heard of that brand".

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