Drink good beer with good people. It has been my closing line for my internet ramblings since I started this blog several months ago. If I remember correctly it came from one of many work sessions that I had with my friend David Phelps as we tried to hammer our the branding message and label concepts for Cranker's Brewery. We work well together. David is far more talented than he knows, and when I am in proximity of his creativity, he gives me credit for being a part of it.
We spent hours in his house upstairs bouncing some good, but mostly bad creative concepts off of each other until we created a label line up that we are both quite proud of. These sessions were facilitated by samplings of the homebrewed pilot batches of beer that I was tweaking in preparation for the brewery's opening. Even though the majority of these work sessions consisted of each of us buried in our respective iDevice, it was always a tremendous amount of fun, and one of those memories that will always remain with me. Seeing these images in the brewery today helps to make work feel like home.
Ever since I started homebrewing and I stopped making beer that tasted like wet cardboard I have had the dream of brewing professionally. I never actually expected to, but the concept was always there in the back of my mind. Then somehow, the stars aligned, and here I am at the helm of a fifteen barrel brewhouse. I always imagined myself watching people drink my beers and enjoying their time out. I figured that would be the best part of the whole head brewer thing. That proved to not be the case. Don't get me wrong, it is awesome to see patrons enjoying the brewery. However my best times as a brewer have come from visits from friends old and new.
I guess it spills into some of my past commentary on food, family, and beer. I view food and family as one. The dinner table is where my family congregates and celebrates. It is were we share and mourn. In many ways, it is our hub. Also, beer is food. It brings people together in the same way that food should. I find that I feel the same way whether I am putting a beer in front of someone, or a rack of ribs that I just slow cooked on the grill. There is always pride and emotion behind those items. I want people to enjoy their time. This is why my favorite role in the brewery is that of host.
Jestin and David, childhood (and still to this day) friends. Lee and Kim, he was the first person I judged beer with. Pat and Ray, homebrew buddies turned bff's. Isaac and Megan, two charter members of the Brewing Network: Homebrew Division. Jeff, potentially the finest cider maker in the country. Seth and Laura, beer bloggers and foodies (insert plug here: http://www.michiganbeerblog.net/). Rick and Kim, my favorite local beer tasting buddies.
The fact that these people have taken time out of their schedules to support me is the most edifying part of what I do. Some of them drove from several hours away. Others carved time our of their busy work and family schedule to visit. To all of those who have visited, and to those of you who will, you make this experience special. Thank you for supporting me, the brewery, and in extension, my family.
Drink good beer with good people!