Okay. I need to rant.
When did the universe collaboratively decide that April 7th is suddenly “National Beer Day”? I mean, I love me a good beer-centric holiday, but April 7th is ALREADY a beer holiday. And a much more robust, historically-significant one: Brew Year’s Eve. It’s all semantics, you might argue, but you would be wrong. And here’s why:
April 7th was dubbed Brew Year’s Eve as a celebration of the first step towards ending prohibition: allowing alcoholic beverages up to 3.2% (abw) alcohol to be legally served. Why Brew Year’s Eve, then? (Besides the awesome sounding moniker, that is). Because it was the eve of the repeal of prohibition. The eve of reclaiming the freedom to imbibe in alcoholic beverages. The eve of so many great things to come. For many American brewers, April 7th and December 5th (the repeal of prohibition) are the two greatest days on the calendar. These dates were the gateway to pursuing our passions legally. It’s a big flipping deal.
Now, National Beer Day would imply that it is a day to celebrate all of our favorite bubbly, barley-based beverage from across this great land. That’s great! I’m all on-board that grain-y train. But wait! By choosing April 7th, those who decided to call this National Beer Day are trying to hitch that wagon to the Cullen-Harrison Act. And by doing so, are stating that this day, April 7th, has historic significance in the way we enjoy beer. And, since today was not the day that all beer was allowed, it means that National Beer Day is about 3.2 beer.
Before you call me a hypocrite and say “I bet YOU, Miss Lupulin, will be drinking other than 3.2 beer today! Burn her! Burn her!” Let me counter with this: today I imbibe of my favorite craft brews with full knowledge of what today is and its historical significance. Many who are celebrating “National Beer Day” just use it as an excuse to get drunk. National Beer Day is to Brew Year’s Eve what breweries are to bars: education verses intoxication.
And this gets me to the crux of the issue: by changing today’s celebration from Brew Year’s Eve to National Beer Day, we are actively participating in the dumbing down of America. Brew Year’s Eve is not only clever, but it requires some thought to find out what someone means when they say that. National Beer Day is just another in a long line of pointless, soulless holidays meant to elicit rampant consumerism from the masses. And if there is one thing that craft beer isn’t, it’s without soul. Just talk to any one of the thousands of brewers who will be descending upon the Mile High City this week for the Craft Brewer’s Conference.
The CBC is a prime example of one thing that so many craft beer geeks – indeed, the majority – have in common: our shared love of learning. That’s why we are constantly seeking out new beers, fresh breweries, and different experiences. It’s why there are so many craft beer festivals, fairs, expos, symposiums, and conferences. It’s why brewers hang out at other breweries whenever they can. We don’t just crave filling our bellies with booze: we lust after feeding our skull meat as well! It’s knowing everything we can about this product, this lifestyle, that we love. And a big part of that is knowing the history of beer here in America and around the world. And April 7th is a vital day in that history.
So, after that mostly disjointed rant, I guess my point is this: Brew Year’s Eve is the thinking person’s April 7th, National Beer Day is just the drinking person’s. And that makes me rather sad.
But, regardless of what you call today, grab your favorite brew and raise a glass to the politicians who, if only for a moment, listened to the will of the people and worked towards once again legalizing our favorite beverage.
postscript: April 7th has also been called Session Beer Day, which, because it celebrates the lower of the alcohol contents, I am cool with as it recognizes the history of the day. However, it is not nearly as clever as Brew Year’s Eve, so it’s still on the outs.