Warning: This column touches on the things going on in the country and the world right now, many of which have little or nothing to do with craft beer. I know that reading about beer is an escape for some people and they don’t want to hear about politics on their beer blogs, but this is my site and I have some things to say. Feel free to skip over this if you want, I will be back to my regular schedule of beer reviews and such later this week.
Last week as I was putting together my monthly Random Beer Thoughts and Links column I looked back at my output for Hoppy Boston in May, as I typically do. I realized that everything I wrote last month has been a beer review. I had made a commitment at the beginning of the year to mix in more types of articles, with a goal of 2-3 non-review articles a month, but then 2020 happened and that goal has fallen somewhat by the wayside. The major issue I have found is that I just don’t have much to say about beer right now. I still have facts/notes/anecdotes that I include with my reviews, but I haven’t had a ton of ideas that have inspired me to write long diatribes about beer in the last couple months. Considering everything going on in the country and in the world, I am OK with that.
The biggest reason for the change, or at least the one that effects me the most personally, is the COVID-19 pandemic. A couple months ago I wrote some thoughts about the pandemic and how it is affecting the craft beer industry and me personally. Two months and plenty of beard growth later (doing the brewers proud, see above), and not much has changed. Taprooms are still closed, breweries are still scrambling to stay open with curbside, delivery, and distribution, and beer media has run out of ways to write new “how COVID is affecting local breweries” articles. I am still at home trying to balance parenting while my wife and I both work from home. I fully realize how fortunate we are to have jobs that allow us the flexibility to work from home, and we are doing fine, but Hoppy Boston (and the related social media) is a lower priority right now. I am still drinking and enjoying plenty of quality beers, which is why I can still fire out reviews, but arguments about IPA substyles and pastry stouts seem pretty insignificant right now.
The events of the last week (and really the last few years) in this country have also taken a toll on my motivation to wax poetically about craft beer. Racism is a huge problem in this country. It has been since since the first ships from Europe landed on this continent and while I hope we have made some progress over the last few decades we still have a long way to go. Along with many other things, we need a complete reform in our “justice” system, an end to mass incarceration, demilitarization and retraining of all police forces, along with a total overhaul of our educational, healthcare and economic systems. Unfortunately, change has been way to slow, and the people in powerful positions in our government and economy don’t seem keen to give any of that up. It has been especially disheartening to watch the rise of Trumpism, where a flagrant racist who can barely form a complete sentence has the unquestioned backing of one of the major political parties in this country along with >30% of the populace. As an upper-middle class white male I know the privilege I was born with and still have, the same privilege my sons will have going forward. I will do my best to teach them to love and respect all different types of people and care about making this country a better place for everyone who lives here.
One of the biggest reasons I struggle with all of this is that I don’t know what to do. I do my best to listen to people of other races and backgrounds and understand where they are coming from and how their experiences are different from mine. One message that seems pretty consistent is that silence is complicity, which is why I am writing this right now. Black Lives Matter. Change needs to happen. Please vote, and not just in national elections, change starts at a local level. I hope that my children grow up in a better America, one that truly lives up to the ideal of liberty and justice for all. We still have a long way to go. Thanks for reading.