Once again, the beer blogosphere provided many unique, memorable personal perspectives, this time, about how beer connects us to places. In many cases, the "special" beers associated with special places where rather ordinary, even substandard, as most posters readily acknowledged. And as I anticipated, "place" clearly meant different things to different people. So let's jump right in to what everyone wrote.
My session post was about my earliest beer experiences, as well as my graduate school years in Ohio revolving around Rolling Rock, which is now a troubled ABInBev product.
My friend and co-worker Mary Russell shared her story about family fishing trips to western Lake Ontario, and her 12-year old son's earliest beer experiences.
Mary wasn't the only person who considers the western Lake Ontario region a special place. John of BeerTaster remembers a small skirmish with the law in his younger days, but laments his old stomping grounds have become "plastic".
The Beer Nut recently sampled some beers at an English-style pub in Paris, revisiting a place he'd been to many years ago. While the beers were a mixed bag, English-style pubs are particularly rare in France. Does that make the place special?
The special place for Stan Hieronymus is Saint Benedictus Abbey of Achel, the beers brewed there, and the powerful effect silence creates.
Pivní Filosof, the Beer Philosopher, writes of a school where 15 to 19 year olds learn to brew beer in Czech Republic, concluding that "In most countries this would be, if not highly illegal, at the very least terribly controversial. In the Czech Republic, it is tradition."
The Reluctant Scooper writes that "a sense of place is greater than just physical location. It’s about interaction – who you’re with (or not); what’s happening (or not); what you choose to do (or not)" before revealing a surprising "place" that's revolutionized his attitude toward beer.
Kudos to The Bottled Llama from Kingman, Arizona, who added the extra dimension of time to their discussion of beer and place.
Alan of A Good Beer Blog has written on this session topic before from many different angles, and helpfully provides the links to his previous works.
For Michael Stein of Beer Made Clear, the Southampton Publick House and Brewery in East Hampton, New York, is a place not only of his not only his roots, but greed, sacrifice, and where "the “haves” and the “have nots” both spend time on the beach", and is the subject of his post.
Jay Zeis of A Beer in the Hand is Worth Two in the Fridge, Yuegling Lager brings back memories of his hometown, where he and his friends "shared many a beer on the front porch talking about religion, politics, girls and sports."
Mike Lynch of Burgers and Brews writes about his personal connection to McSorley's Old Ale House in New York City, and admits if it "were any other dive, I’d rip it a new one on Yelp". With the ambiance of "old wishbones dangling from a light fixture" that "have collected so much dust that they have formed stalactites (stalagmites?)", and beer poured "by a barkeep with a black trashbag tied around his waist", it sounds like a place I've got to check out!
Jon over at The Brewsite fondly remembers his days at Spokane's now defunct Birkebeiner Brewing Company in the 90's, as it was an inspiration during a time of his discovery of craft beer and homebrewing.
Jay Brooks enjoys visiting breweries to taste beer from it's souce, explaining that "I do love the feeling of being in a brewery — or being with the brewer, or some other intangible, but I inevitably get the sense that that’s the beer’s home."
Once again, thanks to all who participated, and we look forward to what Carla Companion, The Beer Babe has in store for us for next month's Session.