Friday, August 3, 2007

Everything old is new again.

'Everything old is new again' states the first line on the website of the newly established {- but mature for it's age -} Philadelphia Brewing Company. ( PHL Brewing ) - This got me thinking. This is appropriate for so many reasons but in a broader sense it rings very true. We are at a turning point in our short history. The rise of locally crafted beers are following the reintroduction of real American wine 30 years ago and coffee 20 years ago. Sure you still have industrial light lagers, jug wine, and instant coffee - but little by little the sheep are venturing away from the herd to explore. I know this because it wasn't that long ago that I began to drift from the group. Stop me if I get too metaphorical on you.

When did efficiency become cheap? And Industry become ... mindlessly big for the sake of big? We are tired of microwave dinners, fizzy yellow beer, oxidized coffee, and a blinding sameness everywhere you go. Happy meals don't make me happy anymore. Once you see the light you just can't go back to the darkside -you can only move forward. I'm not a cynic, I'm an optimist. And what better place to start than with a beverage like beer. It has changed the design of all of our past civilizations and it is changing us now. We're putting culture back into beer and it never tasted better. Don't think for a second that this is small. This is not your fathers/mothers Revolution - this is our Evolution. We may not be the catalyst but we can be the innovators. In the words of a great man, "We didn't start the fire, no we didn't light it, but we tried to fight it."

Sustainability. Local food and drink builds community. Everything old is new again. Drinking in moderation for personal enjoyment, for social lubrication, to support your neighbors. This brings people together. Fashionable again is the local farmer, brewer, vintner, artist, businessman. This is not just a treehugger trend - this is a new necessity. This is about regular people realizing that what goes around comes around. I'm not suggesting scrapping the assembly line. But let's re-think it. You have to take a step back and look at the big picture before you realize small can be beautiful. Old ideas working in a new World.

Enlightenment. When you know ... you know. Beer is not just beer. It was carefully crafted by a passionate brewer 10 miles away. It has a toasted malt flavor on top of which flowery hops dance with seductively smooth carbonation. For so long you had thought that beer only had one flavor - and that was 'beer'. Now your morning coffee suddenly has nuances you didn't think coffee could have because it was roasted 24 hours ago at a cafe down the road. It's fair trade certified and you think to yourself ... somehow coffee tastes better when you know it wasn't harvested on the backs of third world slaves. You can finally comprehend the meaning of terroir when you drink an estate wine from a farm/vineyard down the road from your home. You realize: all the wine snobs you know aren't so snobbish anymore. To make things even better the tomatoes you picked up from the local farmers market last Saturday are the best you've ever had. Your thoughts come clearer and you can literally breathe easier because your asthma you had since childhood has gone. Could this be the product of less carbon and sulfur in the air around your home?

Everything is connected. ~ I've rambled on long enough and hopefully the point has been made. Don't be afraid to ask a few questions and make a few changes. Make the old new again.

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