Farewell 2017 and thanks for all the beer. As I reflect back on my year I can not help but reminisce on all the adventures beer has helped me have. For nostalgia’s sake please allow me a few moments for thanks and to reflect on my year in beer:
January (Chicago, IL): I started the year by kicking off my bachelor party at Revolution Brewing in Chicago. We reveled in the past and looked to the future all while partaking in some of the best craft Chicago has to offer. Not to forget my introduction to the movie: “The Story of Ricky”. A 90s martial arts romp with more gore than the 2000 presidential election.
March (Cusco, Peru): My wife and I meticulously picked three craft beers to serve at our March 25th wedding. We ultimately decided on an IPA, a cream ale, and an amber. Our friends and family used these libations to help celebrate my new family. The latter half of the month was spent sipping brews on the mountains of Peru. After an unreal day of wandering Machu Picchu, I cracked my first bottle of Cusquena, Peru’s finest beer.
July (Portland, OR): If you do not like hiking and beer then you shouldn’t visit Portland Oregon. Hitting the trails in the morning and breweries by night proved to be a great way to celebrate America’s birthday. I am starting to see a trend that west coast folks simply know beer.
October (Maui, HI): When I travel, I always pack a shirt from my alma mater: Southern Illinois University. When I wasn’t lying on the beach or getting lost in the jungle I was working my way through a flight at the incredible Maui Brewing Co. On our last day I went to order when the beertender noticed my SIU shirt. As it turned out he was an alumni and had not seen an SIU shirt on the island in years. We chatted for a while and he bought me a beer on the house, go DAWGS!
December (Urbana, IL): Growing up I couldn’t wait to leave home and go out on my own. Now that I am older, I genuinely miss spending time with my parents. By chance, work had me back in Illinois for a week where my folks still live. My dad and I spent more time together then we had in the past few years combined. We toured Riggs Beer Co (fantastic), sampled his decade-old homebrews (terrible), and continued the neverending “what if” conversation about owning a brewery. It was the most fun I had had in a long time and am fortunate to get the time to enjoy their company.
So that’s a wrap, those are the highlights. The nights playing trivia with my wife, Friday afternoon day beers with my coworkers, and my collection of brewery stickers fill in the blanks. When life’s random events are viewed from the right perspective some meaning can start to form. While a new year is a great time to charge forward it is always best to take a minute and take stock of what has been.
An obscured path is not a stop sign. Yet, we are all guilty of fearing the unknown. If you know the direction you are heading then there is nothing to fear.
I learned this while mastering the art of orienteering. Orienteering is land navigation using a map and compass. You have your bearings which point you in the correct direction. From there, you must travel a set distance to reach your destination. The trick is, there is not always a defined path. Sometimes there are fallen trees, creeks, or crevices to cross. The fun part is learning the land as you travel forward.
These same principles keep me guided in life. I set a destination/goal whether it is professional or personal. Next, I take the first step forward. As long I as I keep moving forward with actionable steps I will reach my destination in due time. What happens along the way is often more beneficial than the goal. I meet new people, have odd adventures, and sometimes end up with a new destination!
The real trick, though, is embracing the unknown. View the path as an opportunity to learn and grow. This will awaken something you never knew existed inside of you. Think hard on a great adventure in your life. What memories come back to you? Is it the destination or the bad/amazing things that happened on the way. For me, it is definitely the latter.
We all have goals in life. If we are being honest we would all admit that we are dogs chasing cars, we won’t know what to do once we catch it. Embrace the unknown and celebrate the obscurity on your path, no matter the destination. Over time you will meet and miss goals. Regardless of the outcome be sure to enjoy the path while living Life Uncharted
My life throughout the beers (pun patent pending) has brought me to a great many establishments. Sometimes I quite literally stumble into new ones. With San Diego being home to 130 breweries and counting it is quite easy for this to happen. I used to think , I’m living through craft beer market saturation. The next week three breweries opened up under the same roof!
How is one city (let alone our country) supporting so many breweries? This question is always on my mind; especially when visiting a new place. Recently, I was out for a run. I noticed a new brewery called “Little Miss Brewing” (LMB) and once again my curiosity peaked. I had to investigate immediately….and drink their beer.
Owned and operated by Greg and Jade Malkin Little Miss Brewing opened in 2016. LMB started as a simple brew house in Miramar California’s odd brewery filled industrial park. Recently, they have expanded to open two new tasting rooms. One of the founding goals of the brewery was to bring the beer to where the people were, not the other way around. Greg Malkin further added to this stating, “We’re going to push more for pints and growler fills…we’d like to have more people from the community coming in on a regular basis.”.
When you first walk into Little Miss Brewing the decorations catch your attention. The theme is what I can only describe as WWII allied propaganda with a splash of Rosie the Riveter. Each of their tap handles takes the form of a metallic bomb (smirking face and all) headed straight for the Nazis! The beer itself has a wide arrangement from Wheats and IPAs to Belgiums and Porters. Pictured below is the mural describing their local beer delivery service.
I detail LMB for an actual reason, not just because they pour delicious beer. I wish to use this brewery as a case study on my initial question of: “why are we not at market saturation?” Little Miss was designed as a neighborhood brewery. It is clear, Greg said it himself, LMB has no ambition of growing into a national seller. Go visit any number of San Diego breweries and the vibes are similar.
The past few years have seen droves of people moving back into cities and out of the burbs. People, dare I say Millennials (blah I hate that term), want to live and shop local. The fascinating part: this is how beer sold many years ago. As the beer market continues to shift from macro to micro a rise in nano breweries seems to be the next logical step. The mere fact that San Diego (and cities like it) can sustain such a large number of breweries begs to verify this thesis. The market will determine if this is a fad or here to stick. In the meantime though I think I will go have another pint served from my new favorite local brewery
Hello friends, and welcome to our first ongoing series: “Wort(s) and All”. Take note: this is not to be confused with the homebrew club in Columbia Missouri (5 out 5 stars on Google though!). Join me as we use the humble art of brewing to explore life.
Next to golf, brewing beer might be the most frustrating activity in my life. I have literally dumped gallons of beer down the drain for multiple unanswered reasons. I lie awake in bed wondering where I screwed up. But that one crisp and flavorful batch reignites the desire to try it again. Before we move on, go ahead and look at the picture located below this post….I will wait.
Did you notice the dates on those pages? On December 25th 2011, I was given a tremendous opportunity. My dad gifted me the equipment necessary to run a one gallon brewing operation out of my then tiny college apartment (now I have a tiny adult apartment). I was ecstatic to get the party going and start my own brewery. Three years later I had brewed exactly one time. I thought and talked about brewing often, yet, one time in three years.
I used to beat myself up over my lack of brewing. Ashamed that I had abandoned my hobby and not made it a priority. When I fail to follow through on a goal I judge myself and that creates stress. But why? Do you think the goal cares that I didn’t execute 100%? Do you think others are judging me? As humans we fail to meet our goals all the time. Perhaps it’s that guitar you never practice, that book you never finished, or that trip you never planned.
So what did I do to stop beating myself up? I realized that life is not linear. Simply because we start something now does not mean we have to finish it within some arbitrary timeline. Priorities take precedence over interest. If your hobby isn’t a priority then don’t be surprised if it takes the backseat. And hobbies/interest are important! They make life an adventure.
No one wants to wake up and realize they spent the last 20 years only watching Netflix and eating Taco Bell. We want to wake up and know that exciting things are happening. The best way to control your life is to pursue your interest. Take charge and do what you want to do! Make yourself a priority! Because if you don’t, who will?
“Those who fail to brew are essentially brewing failure”
-Definitely not Winston Churchill
Some people view life through the eye of the beholder. Personally, I prefer to view it while holding a beer. By establishing context, I hope to translate the comings and goings of my life into usable concepts for others. Don’t worry! I’m quite aware of how conceited this sounds. I’m continuously filling my life with activities that are rife with humility. Call me a masochist, but not conceited,I find pleasure in being humbled. I write all of this to say I wish to explore my own life through one of my deepest passions: beer.
So why beer? Beer is the fascinating convergence of culture, business, and science. Much of my personal philosophy can be expressed through my adventures in beer. The perfect context is created whether I am exploring another brewery, attempting to brew at home, or sampling a new beer. So please, find value! Get inspired! Be motivated! Or at the least…be entertained!
You are formally welcomed to: Life Uncharted