Thats when it hit me. The megas are just like our parents. They had already gone through the experiences of youth. They had made their mistakes and wanted their children to avoid them. An unexpected pregnancy in the girl next door was probably what caused my old man to commence his carpet bombing of Kathy and my couchside Discovey Channel, and then send me off to military school. It was drastic and didnt last long, but the old man was determined to see his son end up resembling the image he had created in his head.
Funny thing is, thats where I first learned to brew beer, at military school. And where I hooked up with the older woman who taught me about sex. I didnt last very long with her; she approached the act with the precision of a large brewing company making beer--for marketing purposes rather than passion--but the woman did rob me of my youth and I thank her for that.
Parents will always feel duty-bound to guide their children, but trying to prevent something natural has never worked. It makes us even more determined to seek our own direction. I suppose thats good, in a sense. Kept in the dark, we believe were being led down the wrong path and rebel against it.
Like misguided parents, the US brewing industry had forged that path, making beers that had worked for them, but lacked what was needed to excite our generation. To them, it was a business. And like successful parents, they did whatever it took to make it work. They had all the experience and wisdom they needed. That was great, but unlike the young, they lacked the passion.
This led to a great opportunity and like misguided parents, the big brewing companies were caught by surprise when hundreds of small breweries began doing things differently. The microbrewery revolution hit the nation like a one of those accidents in England, where the vat of beer broke and porter swept through the streets. In a few short years, we went from 50 to 500 breweries.
Maybe it was the unavoidable nature of youth--rebellious, unfocused, wanting change--but microbrewers didnt look to their elders for advice. Instead, they fumbled around like adolescents, making mistakes but compensating for their lack of experience with the energy and wildness of high school seniors on graduation day. Like new graduates, the microbrewers burst forth, not bothering to hide anything.
Somewhere during my daydreaming Sheila had left, without saying good-bye. Pulled by the parental strings to a life of success no doubt. When I realized this, the dilemma hit me. How was I going to assure myself of a continuing Daily Double streak? Sheila had left and I didnt have a date. And I still had to brew today.