Why craft beer…

It started with this:


Next thing I know, a very clever woman who I admire very much offers to help me with my LinkedIn profile. She has a great process, and knows the best questions to ask me:

in your crude/ unedited voice;  tell me why craft beer?

I rolled it around in my head, and when I sat down to answer her email, this is what came out.

First of all there’s my last name, Goodale. My family have always been beer drinkers over anything else; my dad brewed his own, as do my brothers and now me. I might dabble with martinis and mixed drinks, but there has always been at least a half-dozen bottles of amber goodness in my fridge at all times.

As well as the family history with beer, there is the fact that beer is a historical drink, dating back millennia. The older I get, the more I like having touchstones of the past around me. Also, up to a few hundred years ago or so, the production of beer was woman’s work. As a feminist, I like the idea of doing something that has become so male-dominated. I’ve always been drawn to pursuits that women don’t usually go for these days – ie poker, motorcycling, IT and technology.

Craft beer has been undergoing incredible growth in North America the last decade. People are shifting away from the commercially produced pilsners and same-old-same-old, and into a whole new realm of beer styles and tastes. Science is intersecting with creativity in lovely ways. The opportunity for experimentation is huge – at the Cask Days last month, I tried beer brewed with beets, gummi bears, chai spices, chocolate, hot peppers, salted caramel, and fruit like cherries and raspberries and peaches. There are beers out there as sour as vinegar on the first taste and beers as smooth and silky as a sweet velvet on the tongue. People are increasingly looking at making local choices as well. Craft beer is now the quickest growing sales segment in the Ontario liquor stores and craft brewers are popping up everywhere.

It’s a good time to like beer!

I was raised to be a life-long learner, and it excites me to take on new challenges. I am only just beginning to understand how much there is to learn about beer. It’s vast. It’s micro and macro, local and global, historical and modern. I can drink a beer the same way they did in medieval England or I taste a recipe using ingredients they would never have had heard of, much less had access to. I like that there is just so much to it that one really could never learn all there is to know about it, and so many styles that one could really never get bored.

The timing for me is right as well. I would have been quite happy to continue teaching technology. I get technology, and loved finding new ways to get students engaged in, knowledgeable about and ready for a life filled with tech. However, that door has closed, and I am finding out that being a middle-aged woman with no formal education in her chosen field and really no specialized technical skills is not that sought after. I am working on improving my programming knowledge (knowing enough to teach a programming language isn’t necessarily enough to actually make something complex with it), but while I am good with technology, I am increasingly becoming more drawn to make something more concrete with my hands, to create something that people will enjoy. And for the first time in my life, I have the time and support to sit back and really think about what I want to be when I grow up.

And last but not least, as my husband says, Brewmaster Goodale has a nice ring to it.



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