It’s Hard Not to Be Inspired
After visiting the breweries of Southern California for the first time many years ago, the impression I was left with was: inspired. It was not only the passion of the brewers and customers that helped them thrive, but it was also the hop-forward nature of the beers produced, the way the beer culture permeated other businesses—especially restaurants—and above all the décor. Breweries here put great attention into the aesthetics of their tasting rooms, giving customers a more rounded drinking experience.
I returned to SoCal earlier this summer, and when I finally returned home this time, I was no less inspired than I was all those years ago. California gave birth to this modern beer movement, and it’s safe to say that the Golden State has continued the pioneering and innovative spirit through many of its hundreds of breweries currently operating.
The one thing that really stands out is that breweries want the drinking experience to extend well beyond just what is served in a glass. Take Stone Brewing Co.’s World Bistro & Gardens—Escondido, for example. The home of the production brewery is also home to a restaurant and beer garden. Great care has gone into the thought and execution of both, and it’s unlike any other brewery in the country. Wide garage doors open from the restaurant—complete with bubbling fountain—into the garden, designed with a Japanese Zen motif in mind, where bridges and stone paths connect grassy patches, fire pits and ponds. Bamboo and other trees offer shade and an escape from the real world, just outside the borders.
Being the editor of this magazine means I get to meet extraordinary people and drink amazing beer. It’s odd if a day goes by that I don’t hear of an initiative or recipe that excites me, or see someone living his or her dream. It inspires me, it fuels me on my own career path.
It’s not hard to find inspiration in this issue of the magazine as well. Nora McGunnigle, in her debut for All About Beer Magazine, takes us into Cajun country, where breweries have been inspired by traditional beer styles and determined to make an imprint of their own. Roger Protz tells us about modern brewers who looked to the past and through determination and a bit of cleverness decoded some long-forgotten beer recipes that otherwise might have been lost to the ages. Beers made popular in the historic city of Bamberg, Germany, have inspired countless brewers to try their hand at flavorful lagers both well smoked and not. Joe Stange takes us there on a guided tour.
The brewing culture around the world has never been stronger or more diverse. How does beer inspire you?
This editorial appears in the September issue of All About Beer Magazine. Click here for a free trial of our next issue.
John is the editor of All About Beer Magazine, the host of The Beer Briefing on iHeart Radio, and the author of three books, including The American Craft Beer Cookbook. Find him on Twitter @John_Holl.