I Believe I’ll Have a Beer

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With all due respect to the more serious nature of most “This I Believe” essays… I believe I’ll have a beer! If you enjoy sharing a crisp, hoppy pils with your friends and neighbors, then I raise a glass to you!

As any regular consumer of malt beverages is well aware, we live in a time of unparalleled access to an astonishing variety of ales, pilsners, stouts, hefeweisens and porters. Brewers around the corner, across the county, over the state line, and around the world, are all offering an amazing array of high quality products. You can find these on the shelves of your local distributor, or in a beautiful sweaty glass on the wooden bar at your local pub or micro-brewery.

That has not always been the case, and I hope that the beer drinkers out there take the time to appreciate both the superior quality and unprecedented variety of beers at our fingertips.

Yet having extolled that good fortune for today’s beer drinkers, it’s essential to recognize that it’s really the pleasure of sharing a beer that’s truly worth believing in. I believe in playing horseshoes with some good buddies in the summer shade with an icy bottle on the nearby stump, cracking a porter at an overlook on the Allegheny Front trail, and raising a cold mug in a noisy Pittsburgh bar as Sidney Crosby finds the back of the net. And I especially believe in sitting across the old kitchen table from my dad sharing a fresh pils mixed with a heavy dose of memories and old family stories. My dad passed away three years ago and the times we spent laughing and reminiscing over a cold mug of beer are amongst my sweetest memories.

It’s that sense of shared pleasure, contentment, and well-being that makes beer great. It’s what the Germans call “gemutlichkeit,” a sense that sometimes things are just right with the world. That’s what I believe a fresh and tasty beer has to offer. We gather in groups, large and small, friends and strangers. We share in the rituals of the pour, clink a toast to good health, and feel that cold crisp delight at the back of the throat. It’s around these rituals of enjoying the beer, that we learn to enjoy each other, soaking up the back and forth of good conversation, the warm smiles of companionship and the release of uncontrolled laughter. Yep, life is good!

So I hope you’ll understand my profound and continuing gratitude to the folks that bring this cornucopia of outstanding beers to my back porch and my local brewpub. And I hope you’ll share my joy and great good fortune to be upright and taking nourishment in these very best of times!

So yeah, I believe, I’ll have a beer.

-John Sengle


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