If you recall, last week I dropped the news that I was meeting Sean Lilly Wilson, founder of Fullsteam Brewery, based in North Carolina. He and I met up at the Blind Tiger Ale House where he enjoyed an IPA from Cigar City, a brewery from Tampa whose brews I hadn't yet consumed, but which I really really enjoyed. So send some good words to Cigar City. But that's not the most important thing.
We talked about our favorite styles of beer (we're both fascinated by Belgian sours), why there is not a unified Southern brewing culture (there needs to be), and the sad/funny life led by people who constantly accidentally say stupid shit (Yeah. That.).
I won't totally jock-ride and pour praise upon incandescent praise on Sean (I will however take some liberties and start calling him Sean). Suffice it to say he is a very bright, passionate, knowledgeable guy and I have every confidence that Fullsteam Brewery will succeed. He also hooked me up with a bottle of their Hogwash Hickory-smoked Porter, which I haven't yet tried because he said it is a necessity to drink with barbecue.
It was great to hang out with Sean (and his friend Jason). To sit there with him sans pretension (on both sides) talking about our lives, his business, and even hearing him QUOTE MY BLOG TO ME was at once surreal and very much grounded in the realities of craft beer. I mean, I interviewed Shane frigging Welch from Sixpoint. He didn't need to talk to me; Sean didn't need to talk to me. But they DO because why shouldn't they? Good beer, at its best, is unpretentious right down to its core. It brought Sean and me to the table, and then sat at the table itself. It embodies everything great about this "slow food movement" - we should be able to reach out and talk to the people who make our food or beer. That we can do that, via Facebook, e-mail, and good old-fashioned face-to-facery is one of the luxuries of this era. For every useless "Gnight Tweet peepz, kissezz!", we are able to connect with more and more important people than ever.
So to Sean, all the brewers, all the aspiring brewers, and all the just plain drinkers, the beer world is ours right now. We can all share in the most bountiful time in beer's history. And it is delicious. And you can get drunk from it. What could be better?