Two great things were born in 1981: The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) and me. The GABF is touted as the biggest, oldest beer tasting in the US; I am touted as a big ol’ beer taster, myself. This year’s GABF was held last weekend, meaning for me, three days of texts from gloating friends who attended: “Dude. Just talked w/ Sam Calagione for like 5 min!” I was totally jealous of this one-on-one with the founder of Dogfish Head. It did occur to me though, after my fantasy chat with Sam, that I live in a Beer Bubble. Craft beer has not touched everyone’s life like it has mine. I came of age in a great era for beer drinkers; however, while craft beer has come a long way from 1981, we can still do better for our fellow Americans.
According to BeerAdvocate, the US was home to 4,131 breweries in 1873. But matters just spiraled downhill from that peak to 1919 when some self-righteous sons-a-guns cursed the whole country with Prohibition. That screwed things up profoundly. Americans were not even allowed to brew their own again until 1978 (respect-knuckles, Jimmy!). I’ve dated guys older than that law. Continue reading