There probably aren’t many people who would regularly drive to a different state to buy one certain beer. I am one who does.
I learned several years ago that many brews from my home state of Colorado aren’t distributed in Michigan (blame Michigan liquor laws), so I started making short pilgrimages to a liquor store in Fremont, Ind., to purchase the bubbly, bitter brews of the Rockies. When I make the trip again, I plan to stock up on my favorites like Left Hand Brewery’s Polestar Pilsner and New Belgium’s Fat Tire Amber Ale.
My dedication to the frothy nectar goes beyond an obsession with beers from the Mile High City. Some of my fondest memories from my later years as a student at Hillsdale College involve making trips to Michigan breweries (like Bell’s in Kalamazoo) to taste new brews, pair them with appetizers and sandwiches, and build our own six-packs to bring back to Hillsdale and savor for several more weeks.
Though I don’t remember what my friends and I talked about on one spring night on the front porch of The Donnybrook my senior year, I do remember I was drinking a Bell’s Two Hearted Pale Ale. Now, my husband and I often frequent the Here’s to You…Pub and Grub in downtown Hillsdale, where there is always a good selection of Michigan and Midwest brews on tap.
To many, beer is a cheap beverage that allows one to become wildly drunk in a short amount of time. The only people really benefiting from these beer-filled garage parties are the folks who wander the streets around campus in the early morning, collecting empty cans and bottles to get a little bit of change in return.
A good beer is best enjoyed slowly, in a frosted glass, and in the company of friends. Over the time it takes to sip and savor your way through the drink, you may end up making new memories. A good conversation and a special beer with friends from whom you may soon be miles apart are investments. Venture out and find that interesting microbrew.
Buying beer made by local breweries will hopefully will give you an appreciation for the art and craft of creating an enjoyable and memorable beer.
— Maria Servold is the Assistant to the Director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College