Art of Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson

April is a month which can make a real contribution to the craft brewing community.

As I talk with people about craft beer and brewing I am learning the community has something of a perception problem. Summarizing what I have heard from a number of people, they think people who love craft beer are working too hard. Their perception is craft beer people have taken something they think should be fun and made it too serious. 

I hear terms like “beer snobs” and questions about the difference between ABV and IBUs. People seem to think craft brewers invent new terminology just to confuse them. They do not understand why “growlers” are called that, and are even more lost when it comes to crowlers. Some people think craft breweries make up names for new styles of beer just to make themselves sound more important. For example, just what is the difference between porters and stouts?

Fortunately, April can make a significant contribution to helping us solve this problem.

April is the month of foolishness. We could use a little more of April foolishness.

We live in a society which seems to be flooded with foolishness. The people overseeing our efforts to improve housing and urban development have no problem spending over $31,500 for dining room furniture. The secretary of the interior sees no reason not to spend $139,000 on office doors.

It seems ironic when people think craft breweries are too serious.

How can we put April’s month of foolishness to work for us improving our reputation?

Fortunately, there are craft breweries in Southern California who are pioneering the use of foolishness. Several tasting rooms are demonstrating steps we can to include more foolishness in what we do.

A potential first step appears to be trivia contests. There are few night of the week when we cannot find a trivia night at a local craft brewery.

Angel City Brewery in the Arts District in Los Angeles has Tacos & Trivia Tuesdays each week. This is in addition to Comedy Night on Sundays.

Both Mt. Lowe Brewing in Arcadia and all three Congregation Ale House locations in Long Beach, Azusa, and Pasadena have trivia on Wednesday evenings. 

Left Coast Brewing Company in San Clemente has trivia two nights a week, Wednesday and Saturday.

Every Thursday is trivia night at Hangar 24 Brewing Company in Redlands. 

In addition to trivia nights, more and more breweries and tasting rooms are hosting game nights and providing games for their customers. Both Mt. Lowe Brewing in Arcadia and Yorkshire Square Brewery in Torrance have a healthy selection of games. Choices at Mt. Lowe Brewing include an oversized Jenga set which kids apparently love to knock over and make noise.

Several places offer darts. Mt. Lowe Brewing in Arcadia and MacLeod Ale Brewing Company in Van Nuys both offer darts, and MacLeod offers darts tournaments on Tuesdays. Just try to remember enough beer, even great craft beer, and darts can be a particularly foolish combination, even in April.

Take the opportunity this month to help your local craft brewing community fix its perception problem. Find a few places close to you and explore what they are doing during April. Encourage them to practice more foolishness and frivolity than last month.

You might want to have a list of foolish questions to ask them right off the bat.

What is the difference between a porter and a stout?

Have an excellently foolish April. No fooling.

Greg Richardson is a leadership and organizational coach, and a spiritual life mentor, in Pasadena, California. He is passionate about craft brewing, listening, and monks and monastic life. Greg is a recovering attorney, executive, and university professor. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com and co-hosts the #WordsToLiveBy chat on Sunday evenings on Twitter. You can email Greg at StrategicMonk@gmail.com.

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