Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Name Your Brew

“They sell courage of a sort in the taverns. And another sort, though not for sale, a man can find in the confessional. Try the alehouses and the churches, Hugh. In either a man can be quiet and think.”
(Ellis Peters)

“Beer is my coffee.”

I am not a coffee drinker.  The wife and seventy-five percent of our children are coffee drinkers . . . or what passes as coffee drinkers these days.  My parents were coffee drinkers . . . Maxwell Cup right out of the jar . . . not this chocolaty, frothy stuff with exotic sounding names.  They liked their coffee to be black and strong . . . no cream . . . no sugar . . . straight up.  I never could stand the smell of coffee . . . made my stomach queasy.  Nope, I am a tea drinker through and through.  Not those wimpy herbal teas . . . not those spicy and fruity teas (though I really like Wild Sweet Orange Tea by Tazo) . . . plain old, black leaf tea . . . Red Rose and Liptons . . . no condiments.  I like my tea straight.  I guess if a person is not going to drink coffee, he or she should drink tea . . . I am not a coffee drinker.

The other day, the oldest child and his mother started a conversation about coffee . . . actually it was about Starbucks . . . the commercialized flag ship of coffee shops.  Both of them were drooling and ranting and raving about how wonderful the coffee was at Starbucks . . . actually, at any good coffee shop that can produce the exotic drinks that they pass off as coffee today.  Now, I have gone into the aforementioned coffee shop with the wife before, but my heart practically stopped beating when they charged me nearly four dollars for a cup of tea . . . black tea, at that!  I know the price of a box of tea . . . Liptons or Red Rose . . . and, I know that for four bucks I could have made myself forty-eight cups of tea!  The wife told me to relax, I was paying for the experience and ambiance of the place.  I thought I was paying for a cup of tea!  It didn’t even faze the wife to spend six bucks for her coffee . . . four bucks for my tea . . . to sit in a crowded, stuffy place where people used a strange language to order their brews.  For a minute I was not sure if I was really in the biggest city in Montana.  Which brings me back to the conversation . . . the two of them just thought that the coffee and experience was the neatest thing since sliced bread.

In fact, as my wife says, coffee shops . . . in particular Starbucks and the coffee shop in Barnes and Noble . . . are one of her favorite places to unwind, relax, and spend some time with her self.  Most of the time she is with friends or family, it is rarely quiet, and nerve wracking in the introvert eyes of me. She likes to get her brew, sit back, do a crossword puzzle or read a book, think, and relax . . . a good way to end her day, she tells me.  I don’t get it.  In my mind I would think that it would be better to come home to the peace and quiet of home, brew a quick cup of coffee, and find true tranquility . . . but, the oldest and wife informed me I was wrong.

So, I was thinking about this as I was driving home from working at the university in the big city.  Coffee shops are the wife’s favorite places to sit back and have a brew . . . she can relax . . . talk to people . . . read a book . . . listen to music . . . cruise around on her smartphone.  It is a special place for her.  As I thought about that, it dawned on me . . . I have a special place like that too . . . a place where I get my favorite brew, sit back, enjoy some company, listen to some music, do a crossword (if I was really, really desperate for entertainment), cruise around on my smartphone, and even read a book if I wanted to.  The only difference is that my brew would not be coffee . . . it would be beer.  As I was moving down the highway, I thought to myself . . . there ain’t much difference between a brewery and a coffee shop in Montana . . . just depends upon what type of brew a person wants.

The wife doesn’t agree with me on this one.

So, I did a little research . . . coffee versus beer . . . coffee shops versus breweries . . . which are better for a person?  Here is a bit information for you . . . if you want to be creative, drink beer; if you want to be energetic, drink coffee.  Research shows that a couple of beers will make a person more creative . . . that the brain is less distracted by the world around it . . . that it is good for searching for an initial idea.  On the other hand, research shows that coffee is great at giving an individual quick energy . . . makes the person able to focus better . . . and, it makes one active.  This particular research stated that two would be perfect working together . . . the beer would create ideas that the coffee would give energy to achieve.  But, the research warned, moderation is the key to either one . . . neither one was good in over-abundance.

Other research had to do with telomeres—the end parts of DNA.  Apparently telomeres get shorter as a person ages, when they become too short, the cell dies.  Shorter telomeres are associated with poor health and an increased chance of premature death.  In this research it was found that caffeine was found to shorten telomeres, but that alcohol lengthened them.  In others words . . . beer lengthens a person’s life while coffee has a tendency to shorten it.  Beer topped coffee in this research.

Now, if you are actually seeking to relax, think, and spark the creative juices . . . beer is the brew to go with.  If you are seeking to be energetic, twitchy, and raring to go . . . coffee is the brew to drink.  If you are seeking longevity . . . beer.  If you are seeking an adventure and quick action . . . coffee.  Beer is served in breweries . . . coffee in coffee shops.  I get anxious in coffee shops . . . I feel out of my domain . . . out of place . . . I am uncomfortable . . . and, no one has ever yelled out my name in a coffee shop when I entered.  The brewery, on the hand, I feel more comfortable in, I feel I am among my people, and every so often someone actually knows my name.  A pint of beer is usually between three and four dollars . . . a cup of coffee between four and seven dollars . . . a cup of tea, four dollars.  I am no Einstein, but I think my genetic make-up would have me preferring the brewery and beer over the coffee shop and coffee.

I haven’t popped this theory on the wife yet.  As I said, she is a coffee drinker, I am a beer drinker.  She likes coffee shops, I like breweries.  She likes to spend money, I like to save money.  Either way, I have discovered that neither one of us really buys our coffee or beer . . . we rent it.  I do not think that we are going to agree on this topic of which brew and which place to have our favorite brew is best.  We disagree. As singer Dave Mason used to sing: “There ain’t no good guys, ain’t no bad guys.  There is only you and me and we disagree.”  On that I know the wife and I agree.  I can raise my stein to that!

What is your favorite brew?

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