Nap Turner was a longtime blues radio announcer and performer in Washington, D.C. With a mellifluous baritone voice, he would daily intone, only gently haranguing, "Don't forget the blues," affirming that the blues —an American art form— was too important to our cultural heritage to not be remembered, and too joyous for our ears —yes, blues can be joyous— to not be heard.
I'm no Nap Turner, and my blog is about beer not the blues, but after reading this morning of yet another beer bar in Washington, D.C., that proudly displays its large draft list without offering even one locally produced beer, I felt that I needed to take a stand: Don't forget your local brewery.
The 'eat fresh, eat local' movement (unfortunately called 'locavore') has become loud to the point of annoyance. The 'craft' beer movement, on the other hand, often seems to pooh-pooh the local in favor of the new, the elsewhere.
I enjoy beer from elsewhere, but I return to the local. There's the business angle: supporting the local economy. There's the ecological reason: less traveling is less fuel consumption. There's the common brotherhood.
Like bread fresh out of an oven, beer is a perishable foodstuff. It's best fresh. Yes, there are many exceptions to 'fresh beer,' but they are the spice to the main course. Even barleywines and other aged beers have a freshness, an etched quality, that is lost as the beers evolve. And, after a point, even 'beers for keeping' will go off. So, Drink fresh, drink local.
For purposes of local business and organization, I've drawn the local map by political boundaries rather than simple geographical distance. For Yours For Good Fermentables.com, that's the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area.
- Comprehensive listing of all of the breweries operating in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
- Twitter list of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, breweries.
- DC Beer: An 'old-fashioned' list-serve for Washington, D.C.-area beer fans.
- Nationwide, find a U.S brewery at CraftBeer.com
- For good beer bars, nationnwide, as well as breweries, a useful resource is BeerMapping.com.