The most compelling and popular posts on this site often rely on utilizing robust online databases and forums such as Reddit/beer, RateBeer, and BeerAdvocate to glean information, lists, or conclusions about the continuing craft beer revolution. However, I’ve started a new job and haven’t posted in weeks. So rather than put in the work to produce something useful for you to read, I’ll just play the blogger card and throw out something apocryphal I’ve noticed in the past week: is it just me, or do you keep seeing strangers walking around wearing cool craft beer schwag like hats and shirts?
We started Aleheads a few years ago- a diaspora of beer loving friends forced through education, employment, and the winds of fate to live in isolation, relying on the blog as a public-facing outlet to take the place of (or rather, supplement) long-winded private emails about our love of good beer. Craft beer consumption in the US was below 3%, and outside your Portlands, Friscos, and Bostons of the world, great selection was hard to come by.
Walking my daughter to school this morning, we rounded a well-hedged corner and came face-to-face with another father-daughter combo traveling the opposite way. America is the least subtle country, and as such we like to advertise who we are as individuals primarily through logos on shirts, ballcaps, and depending on your socioeconomic standing, automotive stickers. Hell, even billionaires like Mark Cuban wear hipster tees and cargo shorts. The other father in question was wearing an admittedly bitchin’ Flying Dog Craft Ales shirt. This one, in fact. I was sporting my favorite Dale’s Pale Ale shirt where the Neanderthal emerges from the fizzy yellow lager goo wielding the full-flavored ale flag. It’s the best. Without thinking, I gave his shirt a sharp salute, which he returned with a knowing nod.
This was the latest in a recent spate of good beer attire sightings: Dogfish Head hoodie at the mall, Bell’s Two-Hearted cap at the grocery store, and even a Laguitas racing decal on the eastbound Parkway (which received an appreciative honk). After so long with a niche hobby confined primarily to the Internet, I feel like Fight Club‘s nameless narrator who walks through society in anonymity before beginning to be recognized by other members of an informal family who understand instantly what makes him tick. In that case, words aren’t necessary, but are in fact forbidden.
Maybe we need some sign to throw so that others know you’re an Alehead; or maybe it’s just coincidence I keep seeing all this cool beer stuff walking around on the street. Either way, it’s strangely comforting to run into somebody flying their good beer colors for all to see. I’m going to start doing it more. If you see me walking around, please don’t hesitate to say cheers.