Phillip McCausland: Microbrew love affairs make for tipsy enjoyment

Philadelphia’s infatuation with beer hasn’t rubbed off on students.

I cannot say I have been at Temple long. I transferred here in Fall 2010, and since then, I have been catching up with the culture and life of Temple and the Philadelphia area.

I have become privy to a few things since my arrival: Temple students have a special love affair with beer and, I must say, they have picked one of the best cities in America in which to have that affair.

This city boasts several microbreweries in the greater Philadelphia area. From Philadelphia Brewing Company to Yards, you are bound to find a beer to your liking. But what concerns me is that although we live in one of the best beer cities in the country, Temple students seem to stick to Budweiser and (I shiver to think) Natural “Natty” light beer. Phillip McCausland

For many students, beer is their go-to drink on a Friday or Saturday night. These same students, however, cannot tell the difference between a bock, an IPA and a basic lager. It is almost a shame when you think about how ingrained beer is in our culture, yet we continue to drink beer that, as German exchange student and senior physics major

Lukas Hoppenau put it, “tastes like water from a dirty pipe.”

Perhaps for some students, beer is more of a means-to-an-end now than a delicious treat. No longer is it meant to be refreshing, but instead, it has become something to make your Saturday night more blurry. It has become nothing more than something to hold in your hand as you groggily walk around a frat house.

“Most students drink to get drunk,” said TJ Zuvich, a sophomore criminal justice major. “If you’re not drinking for enjoyment, why buy a microbrew?”

This is a fair question.

Maybe the problem is not with the beers themselves, but the mentality around drinking beer. If your main concern is drinking beer to the point that you pass out, then perhaps a light beer – which Hoppenau said “is a crime” – is the best option.

But if you want to enjoy a refreshing beer with an interesting taste, then perhaps you should explore the many breweries of Philadelphia.

For David Ratigan, a graduate economics student who brews his own beer, microbreweries are special.

“Microbrews are about quality and, really, the neighborhoods that they’re in,” Ratigan said. “Macrobrews are only concerned with profit.”

“Microbrews do so much for the community,” he added. “[Philadelphia Brewing Company] holds events to support [its] community.

This relationship between quality and community sits well with many drinkers.

Microbrews are beers that put hair on your chest and are perfect for a leisurely night out. They’re beers that adopt the ancient art of brewing. This very art of brewing is often forgotten by the macrobreweries, and so it becomes almost soulless. There is so much history in brewing and so much of it is in Philadelphia.

The next time you drink a beer, put down that passionless drink and pick up a beer that was crafted with care. Try a microbrew.

Phillip McCausland can be reached at phillip.mccausland@temple.edu.

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