Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson
is the month when we remember to be grateful.
No matter who we are or where we live, our
lives are filled with people and things for which we are thankful.
It may be only one person in a crowd of others we wish would leave
us alone. It may be the one moment surrounded by a schedule of
things we are required to do.
November is the month when we recognize how
significant gratitude is for us. While being thanked can make some
people uncomfortable, being thankful shapes us and our lives.
Appreciation and gratefulness help us become better people.
There are many things for which I am
thankful, many people to whom I am grateful. The more gratitude I
experience, the more grateful I become. I am thankful for the
examples of people who have gone before me, for those who inspire me
One of the things for which I give true
thanks is craft beer.
I am grateful for the taste of excellent
craft beer, how it rolls on our tongues and fills our noses. I am
thankful for the way it relaxes us, helping us tell the truths we
need to tell. Craft beer helps us make new friends and warms our
I am also thankful for the examples of
people who have gone before us. The monks who have taught us to brew
better beer. The teachers who taught us valuable lessons. Our
ancestors, who began new traditions to celebrate gratitude.
As we prepare for Thanksgiving Day this
month, it is important to reflect on all that has changed since that
first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, and all that has remained the same.
Much is different, and many features have
been added to what we consider typical of Thanksgiving today.
There were no televised parades or football, for example, and no
need to rush out to Black Thursday sales after dinner.
One thing that remains the same is that, in
many ways, beer is central to Thanksgiving, and to the story of the
Those sailing aboard the Mayflower sighted
Cape Cod in November, 1620, after 64 days at sea. On the ship,
they ate bread, biscuits, pudding, cheese, crackers, and dried meats
and fruits. Instead of water, they brought barrels of beer -- a
standard practice in the days before refrigeration, because beer
remained potable longer than water.
Now, Cape Cod was not the destination they
had when they set out from England. They attempted to sail south
toward their destination in Virginia, but contrary winds and shoals
kept them where they were.
In December, a scouting party went ashore,
fearing a possible confrontation with unfriendly Native Americans.
They soon discovered that the local population had been decimated by
That first winter they suffered from cold,
starvation and disease; half of them were dead by spring. Those
still surviving were in danger of suffering the same fate.
Everything changed one day in the spring,
when a lone Native American walked into the settlement and said, in
English, which he had learned from the sailors who had brought the
"Welcome, English. I am Samoset. Do you have
The Pilgrims were astonished. Of all the
places they could have come ashore, they had been found by someone
who was friendly and somehow spoke their language, and knew about
Even today, many years later and many miles
from the Plymouth colony, thirsty pilgrims in Southern California
prepare to set out for the next stop on their own personal craft
What are you most thankful for?
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
he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk.
You can email Greg at StrategicMonk@gmail.com.