Over the last few years I’ve visited just about every type of location that sells beer in the state of Georgia. I’m struck with awe at the diversity of scenes, people, and places that pour beer. From the highest brow craft beer bar to the stainless walls of tap nirvana to the stickiest dungeons of beer 101 and everything in between. I can honestly say there are parts I enjoy about every bar/restaurant that offers an experience with beer. The best ones are not insecure about the experience they deliver, they truly know who they are and are not trying to be something else. I really appreciate these places, even when they don’t serve Reformation on tap or even in a can. But there is one experience that I think the new generation of beer drinkers are at risk of missing out on. The local dive.
This is the place where your dad or grandad probably enjoyed a cold one. It likely has some mass brewery neons flickering in the windows. You might see some folks who look, speak, and feel completely unlike you. But it’s a communal place. Most of the folks at the bar know each other and agree with each other even though there might be some raised voices around the conversations they’re having. They’re not scared to talk about controversial issues of the day. They may even offend you when you come in there trying to sell your, as one once said to me, “craft beer $%!^”. But if you can hang in there and take a good ribbing, you might also learn a thing or two about life and wisdom.
I once had the honor of sitting next to two Vietnam veterans who told me stories of horror as well as some wild adventures on the other side of the world. I eventually got to tell them my story and I left with two new friends. I didn't leave agreeing with their outward perspectives of the world or their preferences in beer, but isn’t life made for just this? Having conversations, sharing perspectives, toasting a few stories and shaking hands on the way out.
As an owner of an independent brewery, I am passionate about the products we craft and the values and vision of freedom that we stand for. I am proud to represent and introduce anyone to our beers and to share my story. I’d love to have better personal and business relationships with more local dives and offer my beer and my brand values to these establishments and historical beer institutions. But at the end of the day, I get it. They know who they are and why they do it. And in that, they have something to offer every beer drinker. So the next time you’re out looking for a beer, don’t forget the dive.
What are some of your favorite local dives?
In memory of Ballad Shearer, lover of the folks who patron the dive.