People who do not really know me think I drink a lot. Just because I have reviewed over 1,600 beers online doesn't mean I drank them in 4 days. No. I take my time drinking a beer. It's rare that I have more than 2 beers a night, and most nights I don't have any. Of course, this was not always the case.
While I didn't touch any alcohol until I was 21 years old, when I did start to drink it was mostly beer (Bud) with some shots mixed in. Still, I never drank alone. It was a social thing back then, and remains (mostly) so today, albeit with a little more style than yesteryear. I love the differences in making beer, the variety of ingredients and variations of combining them, and the spectrum of flavors; from super sour to malty sweet.
When I was younger, Cheers was my favorite TV show--still is. The closeness and camaraderie in that studio bar really hit home with me. Combine that with my history degree that highlighted the role of pubs and taverns through the Colonial days, and I started to see beer (and pubs) as an important social cog in the wheel of civilization.
Living in Denver facilitates this interest: The metro area has a ton of breweries, tap rooms, and beer bars, not to mention many beer geeks. It's no wonder that places such as Denver Beer Co., Hogshead, Dry Dock, Prost and Strange Brewing Co are packed with patrons every night. Consider that these places are not the only on-premise beer joints. Denver is also home to several very large liquor stores that carry hundreds of beers. If beer were the only factor, then people would be drinking it at home and not packing the beer halls. No, there is something more than just drinking beer.
People go to these beer venues to try new and good beer. And to mingle with their fellow citizens, meet new friends, tell and hear great stories, and have fun. This is one reason why I love beer. It truly is a social lubricant. It helps people unwind, not from the alcohol, but from the joy of drinking good suds (the Colorado scenery doesn't hurt either).
More people should take advantage of what beer halls have to offer. The Pub Dialogues is an effort to do just this: Gather people to share beer and ideas about social, political and community issues. Colonists did it years ago, and look what came out of that.