Garrett Describes A Return To Normality podcast
Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver was the keynote speaker at this year's New York City Craft Beer Week -- the Brewers' Choice event at the City Winery on Sept. 22, 2011. He addressed a very enthusiastic crowd of the vanguard of the craft beer scene in NYC and reminded them that things were not always so beery even just 15 years ago.
What happened to beer in NYC between 1920 and 1980? Surely something horrible, something that had brought low the once vibrant beer culture that flourished in our fine city. When beer was outlawed, only outlaws had beer, and it's been a long, hard, difficult journey back from the beerless abyss since the repeal of the Volstead Act.
What was lost was more than just suds and saloons. The social fabric of the city, which incorporated immigrants from beer-centric (and wine-centric) locales such as Germany, Ireland, Italy, Eastern Europe, etc., had been upended. Spirits, which were an important part of early American culture, were banned which, in effect, made culture itself illegal! And as went the beer, it could be argued, so went other aspects of social culture, both of the homegrown American sort and that of the Old Country, too. We entered an era of factory food, mass production/mass consumption, television zombies and a general disregard for and apathy about the very things that make life worth living: good food, good company and good beer.
Garrett sounded nearly triumphant in his assertion that good beer, good food and more meaningful social interaction had returned to New York City -- not as a bold, new age of enlightenment, but, rather, simply as a return to the way it was, the way it should be and the way we like it. Real. Natural. Honest. Healthy. Fun.
By the way, if you've never heard Garrett croon before, you'll be treated to a bit of his mellifluous, dulcet tones at the beginning of the podcast! In closing Garrett promises: "We're going to live well!"