Being one of the newest contributors to Hoperatives, and also probably the Hoperative with the least experience in better beer, I feel like I need to represent the newby to better beer. In many ways, I am still a better beer “rookie” myself. Being the new guy, I know how intimidating it can be when you start to explore the vast world of better beer. And God help you the first time you get to hang out with a bunch of people that have been very passionate about good beer for a long time. It can be very nerve racking! It feels like you are entering a world with which you know very little, so how will you fit in, and will anyone like you?
It was only about two years ago that my buddy @jrodwhalen invited me to go out to an outing with his beer buddies. At the time, I was a Miller Lite loyalist and honestly, had only been drinking that for a couple years. And the only reason I ever switched from being strictly a whiskey drinker to a beer drinker at all was I got divorced and frankly couldn’t afford whiskey anymore. But I digress….. I was pretty nervous about going out with Jared and the “beer people” as I was sure I would be berated and belittled by the “beer snobs”. I mean, what did I know about beer and how could I possibly contribute to any conversations they might carry on? I grew up in a family where my dad drank Strohs and my mom put ice in her beer because she didn’t like it. But despite my nervousness, by this point I had tried a decent number of beers that had sparked my interest in beer, so I sucked it up and went down to Rock Bottom for my first Hoperatives Happening. This was my first time hanging with people other than Jared that were passionate about craft beer.
My nervousness quickly melted away after about 20 minutes when I started to get to know the people who are now my fellow Hoperatives. Though the group was very diverse, these people were pretty easy to get along with. They came from every walk of life, had lots of different interests and careers, but we’re all drawn together by one thing, beer! Yes there were a couple of shots at my choice of beers at he time, but it was all in good fun. The most common theme of the night was the passion and excitement that this group shared for good beer. They liked it so much they wanted to share it with others. They were glad to talk to me about different styles that I might like and what was different about each type of beer. It was a great place to be for someone like me with a budding interest in craft beer. The experience really left me wanting to know more about craft beer and fueled my desire to try more and more. Though I have a lot to learn, I have found a great group of people to teach me. In large part, the craft beer community are a pretty passionate but laid back group.
If you are a rookie like myself and are interested in learning more about craft beer, make sure you check out hoperatives.com regularly to stay up to date on all the local happenings around town. All you have to do is show up and start a conversation. Don’t be afraid to try new things and if you don’t like something, try something else! Don’t be afraid to ask others for advice. By my observation, there are no strangers in the craft beer community.