The past couple of years have changed a lot of our routines and caused us to miss out on the things we enjoyed, before the world shut down in March 2020. For me–and I think I speak for all of my fellow beer lovers–one of those things was going out for a pint.
Thankfully, opportunities arose for me to enjoy a pint safely at home while communing with friends and family. One of my very first, and fondest, memories of the pandemic era, is enjoying drinks while video conferencing with our very own SCCB Blogger, and a few other friends. Where else could I enjoy a pint whilst wearing my nifty Cthulhu ski mask? …What? You’ve never done that? Hey, different strokes, I s’pose.
Indeed, enjoying a beer while video chatting with others became a fun tradition during lockdown. I am lucky in that my parents live just a short, fifteen-minute drive away. They, along with a few other family members, became my quarantine ‘pod.’
My parents and I are all avid theatergoers. While we missed attending live theater in 2020, we were treated to several live and recorded readings and productions of plays, all of us planted in front of my dad’s computer, beers in hand.
But our online entertainment wasn’t just limited to Shakespeare via Zoom. My parents and I also had two really fun experiences, where we got to enjoy some beers and do a live chat with fellow beer fans, and the brewers of those beers. One of those experiences was with Stone Brewing. There was beer. And tacos. Cue “My Favorite Things.”
Another occasion involved my current favorite, Ogopogo Brewing. (Featured in my previous post here.) We again got to commune via the internet, with fellow beer fans, and with the folks behind the brewing. Maybe I still have those delicious tacos and that tasty lager on my mind, but if I recall correctly, my favorite of this Ogopogo session might well have been their La Llorona Mexican lager.
Accompanying the beer was a fun trivia contest about the history of Pasadena, CA, hosted by Pasadena Heritage. I abstained from the trivia contest (I think we kept our computer mic muted, the entire time), but not from the good beer.
My family and I did eventually start going back out to enjoy pints together, once we had all gotten ‘the jab’ last year. I got to treat my dad and my brother to some pints for Father’s Day 2021 while hanging out at Ogopogo. The month before that, we spent Memorial Day weekend in Cambria, CA. There, my uncle and I discovered, and enjoyed, some great beers at 927 Beer Company. The both of us enjoyed a beer flight, and we had our arms twisted to enjoy another pint when more family came to join us.
Other than these aforementioned outings, though, my enjoyment of good craft beer has mostly been at home, or at my parents’ home. Although he and I differ in our beer tastes (he abhors IPAs!), Dad and I both enjoy a good craft beer. He has found many interesting brews at Howie’s Market in San Gabriel. When I visit, I will sometimes bring over some brews, to help replenish the beer supply in his fridge which I also am a HUGE help in depleting. What a son.
My parents had my brother and me over for dinner, a few weeks back, and Dad had a special project for the two of us: to dig through two big boxes of memories from our childhoods and see what we might want to hold onto. I found some adorable photos from my lower school years, some embarrassing drawings I’d done, awards I’d won, report cards I hadn’t been successful in hiding. I also happened to be enjoying a can of Brewyard Beer Company’s Ube Wan IPA, while digging through my box. In addition to the great taste of the beer–flavored with ube–this day was notable for what I think really makes for an enjoyable craft beer experience: namely, revisiting old memories, and creating new ones.
There have been many great memories of great beers made over the past couple of otherwise very challenging years. I’m thankful–and lucky, I know–to have been able to share them in the company (virtual, or otherwise) of the people I care about. Now I lift a glass to you, dear reader, and end with this thought:
Until next time, cheers!
The SoCal Craft Beer Blog would love to hear your stories about continuing to maintain a sense of community and connection over craft beer–or otherwise– during the pandemic. Feel free to comment on this blog post or drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll collect your stories and post them as a companion to this piece.