Close your eyes, if you will, and imagine all the myriad reasons why we’re dicks to each other. What comes to mind? Skin color? Sexual preference? Spirituality? Whether you like the Yankees or Red Sox (fun fact: 99% of both teams’ fans are, in fact, assholes)?
Now, think about maybe one of the most ridiculous reasons we could get seriously opinionated about a thing, defend it with our life (and ethnic slurs, if we’re on the internet), and absolutely denigrate any who disagree with us, regardless of the fact that there are literally millions of other things to be opinionated about. GEOGRAPHICAL AFFILIATIONS! You can’t pick where you were born, yet, especially when we think globally, this determines a gigantic portion of who you are. Born in the wrong place? No food for you! Born in the right place? You are wealthier than everyone but your dictator / emperor / warlord parent! It’s a serious toss of the dice… which you never actually toss… you just kind of wink into existence this way. Cool?
Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t support local things, especially those that we want to see thrive. I often feel tremendous guilt for not buying American-made automobiles, but my wallet forgives me when I stop at the gas station less frequently. I could honestly not care any less than I presently do about local candle shops, boutiques, floral arrangement stores, edible arrangement stores, comic book stores, etc. unless they are f@cking amazing. Most of them, at least the ones in Idaho, simply aren’t.
Now, beer, that is something I have a mighty opinion about. My beer-pinions may even be as mighty as Tir, Norse God of War and Ale-Swilling, himself. We have a problem in Idaho, as pertains to beer: if it’s local, it’s GREAT! The thought that someone might even hint at suggesting an implication of a notion, subtly communicated through unclear and improperly signed ASL hand gestures, that beer from Oregon and California (which is scientifically proven to be superior, I’ll have you know) might be a little more refined due to, I don’t know, having been around a lot longer is mind-blowing! In fact, it usually causes the poo to start flying real fast like. It’s something that should inspire mobs to take up pitchforks and torches!!
Observe a variety of comments made to one writer for a beer-related publication called West Coaster, as he writes about Mother Earth Brewing (based in San Diego, CA) opening up a facility in Nampa, ID. He makes the mistake of referring to Idaho as not having a “defined craft beer culture.” Let’s watch!
Phew! After all that, I need a beer. BRB, everyone!
Okay, all better now. I’m sure we all have a story about how some nut is fanatical about Poop Creek, OR or Big Tuna, TX or Wonky-Tonky Bug Junk, IA or any other town that no one has ever heard of… and yet is the best, mostest Americanest place in the whole goddamned known universe! So why?
For my money, Idaho beer is a far cry from something desirable. I come from Portland, home to the best beer in the WORLD. Period. Everyone else can fuck off and die! However, I can also humbly admit that California makes outstanding ales and lagers. Why do Idahoans blindly sign up for Slanted Rock (almost literally nothing tastes good here), Sockeye (passable and improving, but not too bueno), Powderhaus (just the worst shit I’ve ever tasted) and County Line (in a cursed building; their terrible beer was preceded by Kilted Dragon’s terrible beer… before they went the way of the dragon).
One option is this: they don’t care about the beer, they care about all of the peripheral stuff. My wife and I agree that Powderhaus has an awesome tasting room! Friendly staff! Amazing wi-fi! But guess what? We don’t care. We came for the beer. Similarly, places with decent food (Edge), awesome buildings / layouts (Crooked Fence’s Barrelhouse), a membership club (Sockeye) and trivia nights (um… Edge? Anyone else?) get rave reviews, but either few people discuss the beer (in terms of flavor profile) or all they say in their reviews are “Great beer!” right alongside “Great staff!!” and “Great food!!” and “Great condom machines in the restroom!!”
Another option is what we all fear most: ‘Murica. I have this feeling that, of all the flag waving nuts out there, something terrifying like 75% couldn’t articulate why they feel America is so great. Don’t get me wrong; I genuinely (no sarcasm now) believe the U.S. of A. is one of the most amazing places in the world, full of insane amounts of opportunity and the highest standard of living for any people on the planet. However, you know damn well that a number of us love it because ‘MURICA! MUUUUUURIIIICAAAAA!!! (you have to imagine The Nuge screaming that from the top of a monster truck while playing an 18-minute, face-melting guitar solo on a 15-necked guitar and cooking the largest, most bacon-wrapped piece of beef that you’ve ever seen… now go clean yourself up).
Yeah, the motherfucking option that I think makes the most sense is AN IRRATIONAL SENSE OF GEOGRAPHICAL PRIDE! And, if we as a nation can dog on every other country because America is the best, why shouldn’t those same assholes dog on each others’ localities because THEIR locality is the best? It’s stupid. I’m sure evolution factors in here somewhere, but Cheese and Rice, people, can you draw a line somewhere?!
“So… what’s the take away from this?” I can hear you asking yourself as you scratch your enormous forehead? As always, I don’t know. Notice how just about every blog written has a tag called “rant”? I guess it’s kind of what I do.
IF there were a moral to the story, and I’m not saying there is, perhaps it’s that we should have a sense that somewhere out there, there is something greater than ourselves, greater than your city or state, perhaps even greater than America. This thing might be an intangible concept like charity, humility, or Batman (TM), but it might be more worth living for than claiming your whatever is better than someone else’s whatever. On a note much dearer to my heart, how about you just sincerely analyze whatever it is you are seeing, tasting, hearing, touching, smelling (?), experiencing, and give your genuine opinion, rather than loving it blindly because it was made near your house, a large number of other people like it, or ‘Murica. And on that note: ‘MURICA! F@CK YEAH!!