Drinking with the Enemy – By Chris Mullowney

This is going to be less about how I got into craft beer and more of a story about how craft beer can bring different people together simply because it exists. For more years than I can remember, I have been a huge proponent of the idea that a beer will settle most arguments and misunderstandings. By this I mean that in the case of most minor arguments, a more serious altercation can be successfully avoided by one party purchasing and presenting a beer to the other party. This is a tried and true method that has been practiced for billions of years (maybe even trillions, who knows), but what I recently found out this weekend is that craft beer is so powerful that it can diffuse situations just by the mere mention of it. Now that everyone has stopped reading, I’ll begin.

This may come as a shock to most of you, but I’m a huge fan of great beer. I am also a big Philly sports fan. These two simple facts have been the basis of 90% of my bar arguments as an adult. Because the setting for the majority of my sports arguments has been the greater Philadelphia area, most of the bar patrons have held similar views. Well this past weekend that was not the case.

I went to visit my old college roommate in White Plains, New York. We had planned to go to the city Saturday to meet up with another friend. I wanted to get to the city pretty early on Saturday because the Flyers were playing the Rangers at 1pm, but my friends weren’t able to meet me until later in the afternoon. So my buddy gave me the name of one of the bars he usually goes to and told me they would all meet me there later.

I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure my friend wanted me dead because almost everyone in the bar seemed to be a Rangers fan and he knows I have trouble keeping my mouth shut. Now that I actually think about it…yes, yes my friend wanted me to die, and he wanted me to be miserable while doing so. This place was terrible. As I perused the beer list my expectations sank deeper and deeper, but when the situation looked to be the bleakest, I saw a shining gem of an IPA at the bottom of the bottle list.

I ordered beer after beer, enjoying the hoppy goodness as I went back and forth exchanging pleasantries with an overly exuberant Rangers fan down the bar. This continued until after the game was over when I guess he decided that yelling across the bar was entirely too impersonal and made his way over to my end of the bar. As the Rangers fan drew closer I noticed that he was carrying a bottle of the same delicious beer I was drinking. So I tried to lighten the situation by saying to him “Thank God, at least you’re drinking good beer.” It seemed to have worked, because after noticing my bottle on the bar he laughed and made a comment about the lack of selection at the bar.

He sat down and for the next 25-30 minutes we discussed beer, beer styles and my job working at Hunterdon while I waited to hear from my friends. He told me he was meeting some friends at a beer bar around the corner and suggested that I head over with him and have my friends meet us there. Knowing there was a chance I would be brutally slaughtered and left in a ditch, I promptly paid my tab and followed him the few blocks to the bar with the hope of a better selection. I’m sure glad I did. As soon as I walked in I noticed an outstanding variety of craft beer on tap and ordered a porter even before introducing myself to his friends. That’s fine because he introduced me to everyone as “Chris the A-Hole Flyers fan” for the rest of the night anyway. My friends arrived (probably amazed that I was still alive) and introductions were made. Then we all sat at the bar for the next few hours, put our differences aside, had some good conversations and drank some pretty great beer. Perfect strangers all now friends because of craft beer.

I’m not sure if this is an isolated incident, but I would like to think that scenes like this are playing out all over because in my experience craft beer drinkers are some pretty great people. As a whole we seem to be able to look past petty stupid differences and come together with the common goal of acquiring and appreciating quality craft beer and sharing that experience with others.

On a side note, this may have also worked with whiskey, but I guess I’ll have to wait for my next trip to find out. Oh yeah, we also carry some pretty bad-ass micro-distilled whiskies from around the world. Take a look at the spirits page on our price book.

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