When Different Passions and Paths Combine
On the evening of this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game, I found myself sitting in Galaxy Brewing Co. After driving five hours to Binghamton, New York, I was in serious need of refreshment and a bit of distraction. I found it on ESPN, where the sports network had collaborated with Marvel Comics for a documentary on origin stories of athletes. It was an odd mashup (and great synergy since Marvel and ESPN are both owned by Disney) and as I downed a pint of ESB, the realization of how not-at-all strange this was—sports, beer and comics—washed over me.
There was a time when beer geeks and geek geeks were in their own bubbles, and sports fans were in their own, as well. Over the years we’ve seen the beer world and sports world come together through advertising and partnerships and through growing tap lists at stadiums. We’ve also seen beer companies becoming involved in comic conventions, or working with artists and more. This is oftentimes because the brewers themselves are self-proclaimed geeks.
In recent years, however, it’s been hard not to notice the blurring of the bubbles. Thanks, in part, to Marvel super-hero movies, the proliferation of breweries, the popularity of sci-fi shows on television and people not willing to be defined by just one category, we see a blending of interests. This leads to an adult conversation between the A-V guy in high school and the school’s quarterback at a reunion over their favorite hop variety. We have two stories for you in this issue by Mark Peters and Jeff Cioletti examining how beer is becoming a part of other interests and societal cultures.
Elsewhere, we continue to look at everyday items that make up the total beer experience. Oliver Gray examines tap handles, and you’ll see why we think there’s more to the pour than meets the eye. For the foodies, we’re lucky to have a corn soup recipe from Oregon’s Paul Kasten, which pairs wonderfully with our trending style: hot-pepper beers.
Finally, the beer industry continues to mourn the loss of two pioneers in the United States. Byron Burch, a homebrewing advocate and homebrew store owner, an author, and a teacher to so many, died in late August. Read more about his life in our news section. On Page 20, friend and colleague Lisa Morrison shares the life story of Fred Eckhardt (1926-2015), a brewer and writer who championed, challenged and changed the beer landscape. Eckhardt was a longtime columnist for this magazine, among the first to extol the joys of pairing beer and chocolate, and above all, an extraordinary man with an infectious laugh.
As the way we all experience beer continues to change, it’s important to remember those who helped us on this path. If you have a beer in hand, I suggest raising it to these two men, and all the others they stood with.
John is the editor of All About Beer Magazine and the author of three books, including The American Craft Beer Cookbook. Find him on Twitter @John_Holl.