“There’s more to beer than beer.” That was our slogan for our first-ever beer fest—the Art of Beer Festival—that we hosted in Boston, way back in 2003. We dropped it on the back of all of the fest tees, too. A concept born from several beers at one of our late-night “business meetings,” we thought we were being clever, but many struggled with its meaning.And though we had to explain it numerous times during the event, for us, it became one of our founding mantras—and still is today.
Scratching your head, perhaps? We’ll explain.
We all know what beer is, right? Malted barley, hops, water and yeast. Those are the typical core ingredients for beer, which are then fused using temperature and time to create an alcoholic brew. However, by employing different ingredients, brewing techniques, packaging, and the unique passion and brewer’s touch found at each individual brewery, beer’s diversity is limitless.
But still, beer is more than just beer.
The American poet John Ciardi wrote some 40 books of poetry and criticism, but is known by many for his now famous beer quote: “Fermentation and civilization are inseparable.”
No matter how you interpret it—literally or metaphorically—we wholeheartedly agree with Ciardi’s idea. Keeping beer in mind as a product of fermentation, apply this thought to the core of civilization: socialization. We’ve always believed that beer is the ultimate social lubricant—you can quote us on that. When treated with respect, beer can be a fun equalizer. It brings people from completely different origins, backgrounds and beliefs together. And whether it’s enjoyed on its own, paired with food, or paired with moments, beer is an integral part of life for many, both personally and professionally. Yes, we’ll say it—beer is life! As such, it also propels us as a civilization.
So the next time you pick up a beer, think (not too much) before you take the first sip … because it’s so much more than just beer.
Jason & Todd Alström
Jason and Todd Alström are brothers and co-founders of BeerAdvocate.com, the largest global beer community on the planet. You may run into them at one of their popular beer festivals, or see them enjoying the hell out of a good beer at your local bar.