Monday, April 30, 2012

Ruminations, Part 1.

It’s truly bizarre to contemplate that after almost 2,300 posts spread over seven years at this blog, I sometimes feel like absolutely nothing of merit has been passed along from me to you – and the failure is my problem, not yours.

Today is one of those days. What I’m feeling is not self-pity, although it might well be sheer exhaustion. My personal world at home is solid, and my professional world gets steadily better fiscally (for the most part; there certainly are exceptions). I can summon the edge when I need it. In spite of it all, uncertainty is gnawing at me. You wouldn’t know it from reading this blog, because apparently I’ve gotten very functional at being dysfunctional.

Let’s put it this way: Self-censorship is beginning to chafe.

It has been written that the sole purpose in writing is to tell the truth, and yet if I’m to be perfectly truthful with myself, I haven’t always done that here. While I’ve succeeded in avoiding overt falsehood, the simple act of refraining from deception is not quite the same thing as being entirely honest. Omitting items from one’s narrative isn’t the same as telling lies, but the overall effect might be the same.

To cite just one example: Have I been served flawed craft beers?


Have these been brewed locally?

Sometimes, although it has been a while since I experienced one. More often than not, they’ve some from other parts of the country (distance from the source being a determinant of desirability, according to one school of thought, though I digress).

Have I discussed these flaws aloud?

Seldom, perhaps never. Rather, I defer the venom by heaping it on Shock Top or some other ridiculously infantile mockrobrew, and call it even for the day.

In a way, that’s dishonesty, but it’s an accurate expression of staying loyal to the chosen cause amid creeping disillusionment. But the cause is fragmenting, and craft beer is becoming something unrecognizable. I’m trying to discover whether the new boss is going to be the same as the old boss, favorable or unfavorable to my world view.

Lately, I’ve confided to close friends that my overall sense of frustration with the world of good beer and my place in it, both personally and professionally, is escalating. It’s a sure sign of cognitive dissonance that more and more often, I find myself dreading those occasions when I must stand up in front of people and preach the gospel of craft beer. Why am I being bothered?

So, maybe it’s time to work through this, publicly. For me, there’s always been a balance between the “good times” side of better beer and the thoughtful embrace of better beer as a doctrine. For me, blind allegiance to any system of thought is to be avoided, and constant re-examination merited. Shouldn’t this rigor be applied to beer, too, and to my place (and my company’s place) in it?

After all, 30 years later, it’s my damned career. Isn’t it supposed to make sense? Isn’t it supposed to make me happy?

I’m not sure where any of this will lead. Maybe nowhere. But when it comes to me and beer, I’m coming to some juncture where the flanks are under attack, the center is giving ground, and the battlefield is enveloped in the fog of war. There’s too much complexity, too much confusion and too little control. I need to figure out why.

1 comment:

j . j . said...

You mean every craft beer produced isn't perfect? Even as a brew pub or micro, does it have to be? Because people think it does, doesn't make it so.

Man, give yourself a pat on the back, have a beer and stop worrying! You did see the market share numbers for craft beer against macro, right? There's so much room for good stuff (mostly to be filled in by people to drink it as opposed to more beers to drink) that we are in the greatest renaissance of craft beer imaginable! Hang tough, do your best, and that's all folks can ask of you.