Today I was at the market, picking up some milk - stashed it in the back seat, opened the driver side door to step in the car and looked up. There's a guy standing a couple parking spaces away in shorts, the ubiquitous black t-shirt, and dark shades - hustling his wife and kid out of his car - seemingly making eye contact.
It kind of stopped me, like I should know him or something. He says, "I just want you to know - I'm a big fan." Now I'm shopping for milk - organic raw milk at that. I have no context for the comment and wonder if I'm getting jerked around. Probably with a confused look I ask, "For what?". He smiles and says, "Your beer!". I laugh and say "Ok" in an aw shucks kind of way. He turns and leads his family for the store.
Now I probably should have said, "Hey thanks. I'm glad you enjoy it." or something more socially appropriate - more than a nervous laugh and "Ok". But I was honestly totally surprised and a little embarrassed.
I know I haven't been very busy with collaborations, or really craft beer community visible since I stopped brewing for the taproom in Riverside. It would be nice to work with more local breweries, but I haven't put a big effort into it (and I'm a lousy networker). I really only have one foot in the beer game right now - though with totally enviable collaborators like Barley Forge Brewing Co., Brasserie Fantôme, and Brasserie Saint Somewhere. So to be recognized and acknowledged as a brewer while picking up milk was a bit surprising and humbling.
I like making, designing, and collaborating on beers that many people can enjoy because, well, because beer is not politics and usually not a fulcrum for contention. It's just a simple thing many of us appreciate and enjoy sharing. To participate in creating something good and to be acknowledged for it feels good, and is a great reminder of why I play this gypsy brewer gig.
So anyway, about "my beer", I'm really glad you enjoy it.