10 Feb Do you live near a brewpub? Your life is probably better for it
It’s Wednesday, not unlike the numerous before it, as Carolyn and I walk into the New Albanian Bank Street Brewhouse in downtown New Albany.
The same scent of mash. The same wall mural. The same concrete bar.
Same bartender. Same crowd. Same sense of comfort.
Quaint, comfortable, and most importantly, familiar.
That’s why we’re here. Consistency.
As we approach the bar, where we will soon take the same seats we do every Wednesday. We’re greeted with a friendly wave and smile from Kirk. He’s a regular on Wednesday. Seated next to him is Scott. Scott extends his hand to me, which I take, then slaps me on the back and politely asks, “How were America’s youth today?”
Same question each week met with the same slight head shake and eye roll.
You see, my wife (then fiancé) and I met Kirk and Scott over a year ago at NABC. We would come after school for a pint and growler fill and after about the third or fourth Wednesday, introductions and conversations began to flow. Scott often talks animatedly about his travels while in the Navy. He always is sipping an Elector Imperial Red Ale. Meanwhile Kirk nonchalantly brags about retirement as he nurses his Action Pale Ale. Carolyn and I, like clockwork, listen and chide in here and there about the lives of teachers.
Somewhere along the fine line of friendly conversation and a weekly pit stop for a pint, a friendship formed. A friendship that still sees us all meeting occasionally for a beer.
The common denominator of that friendship is beer.
What makes a beer good? Simply put, it’s the perfect balance of water, barley, yeast, and hops.
But what makes a beer really special is the atmosphere in which it’s served. Whether that’s a local brewpub (as in my case) or another little hole-in-the-wall pub that suits your fancy while meeting your How I Met Your Mother idea of life. It doesn’t matter. You go because you like it.
You like the people.
You like the drinks.
You like something, whether it literal or figurative.
And if you happen to live close to a brewpub? Well, it just might make your life better.
People who enjoy a pint in a local pub, according to the research, are “significantly” happier, have more friends, better life satisfaction, and less likely to drink to excess.
My happiness wasn’t measured in pints and growlers. I never really thought about my mile-to-beer outlook on life until moving to Jeffersonville in late 2014. I remember house hunting religiously and telling Carolyn at the time how awesome it was going to be to live in a town with two brewery/brewpubs (Flat 12 and Red Yeti). That thought made me very hoppy (sorry, I’m a sucker for puns). It’s been a little over a year since the move to Jeffersonville, and I can’t tell you how many hours and pints have been shared at both Flat12 and Red Yeti.
We (Carolyn and I) go for numerous reasons. Both are within a mile of our home. Both have bartenders that know us by name and treat us as friends. Both have an exceptional tap list. I could go on but I hope you get the point.
Often times when Scott and Kirk meet us at Flat 12 (not on Wednesdays) for a pint, their wives come with them. We all are friends forged by the spirit of Dionysus. It never would have been it if weren’t for NABC.
In a world that is quickly becoming more and more impersonalized, we, the petulant martyrs take moral solace in knowing that just down the street, or up the block, or nestled in the town square is a place where beer, conversation, and the capability to just slow down, still exists. They do. And they await our stories with open arms.
So go in. Have a seat. Be you.
We all came for a reason.
As for the sanctuary that houses it, well, that’s why we’ll come back.