Sometimes I think holidays were invented to give writers perennial topics. So here is my obligatory New Year’s resolutions column for beer.
Lose Weight and Drink Beer. Like every other American, I could stand to lose a few pounds. Or 50. Problem is, I write about beer, and beer makes you fat. At least if you drink a lot of it. Which I do. I really like beer. I also like talking about beer, reading about beer, looking at beer, and smelling beer. But it is the tasting beer that gets me in trouble. Is it possible to gather beer knowledge to share with you, the reader, without drinking beer? I don’t really think so. At least I am not willing to try. So I propose this bold experiment. I am going to try to lose weight and still drink beer. I won’t drink as much, but I will still drink it. I will keep my tastings to the weekend, and cut out any unnecessary imbibing. Efficiency and focus will be my buzzwords. Wish me luck.
Weather the “Perfect Storm.” I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I would not be surprised to learn that the much-buzzed-about “shortage” of malt and hops that is predicted to lead to higher beer prices, especially for craft beers, was induced by the Anheuser-Busch/SABMiller machine to drive craft brewers out of business. My resolution? Drink craft beer and not cave to the price point lure, especially when Anheuser-Busch’s craft beer line doesn’t go up in price, which will only confirm my theory.
Rediscover the Classics. The influx of new beers to Georgia over the last 3 years has been an exciting time. Every time I go to Green’s there is a new beer on display that I have not tried, or a new offering from a favorite brewery. Like a kid in a candy store (or an adult in a beer store), I have to try the newest, latest thing. I have discovered a world of great beers, but, to be honest, it can be a bit tiring. There is great satisfaction in cracking open a beer that you know and love: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, almost anything from Sam Adams, Anchor Steam, Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter, Chimay, Spaten Optimator. Sometimes beers are popular because of advertising, market inundation, or alien mind control (how else to explain Corona Light?), but sometimes they are popular because they are good.
Support My Local Brewer. This is a no brainer, but sometimes I have to force myself to go out of my way to get what is right in my own backyard. And it is important that I do. The craft beer movement depends on momentum, critical mass, and word of mouth. I resolve to do my part to keep the scene vibrant. It is encouraging that two new brewpubs opened a year ago and are still going strong, and that another 5 Seasons is set to open this year, but local brewpubs and breweries face a difficult year ahead, with rising prices for ingredients, an indifferent business community, and a frequently hostile regulatory environment. I plan to throw my support behind local brewers and make sure my voice is heard when laws that might adversely affect the craft beer industry come up. Beer could benefit from the respectable image that wine has cultivated.
See you around the taps this year.Talking Head columnist Jeff Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.