Enough has been written about it …
All the cliches have been over cliched …
We all  know that we’re unprecedented times and that the ripple effects and long-term repercussions will go way beyond what we could currently envision.  I mean, if I would have told you 6 months ago that all sports would be cancelled or postponed and we’d be in a police-state lockdown emergency, you’d have assumed that I had been way too deep in the beer. But that’s where we find ourselves. At least we have this: breweries have been deemed essential services so that we can maintain our sanity.

And that’s what today’s post is all about. It’s vital, now more than ever, to support your local breweries. My brother-in-law and I have turned Saturdays into “let’s see how many different breweries we can visit” days. Last Saturday – there were three. Yesterday, we hit four more. The challenge is on – how many will you visit this week?*** Something feels great about visiting and supporting local businesses. And the staff is always SO thankful. I can talk for days about drinking craft beer versus the mass-produced stuff I usually rail against. But let’s get into some deeper reasoning here. I give you the top 5 reasons to drink local, especially now.

  1. Your local craft brewery is not flush with wads and truckloads of cash. They operate on pretty thin margins, which means that major economic chaos (kinda like this whole Corona thing) could have devastating consequences to your local watering hole. You love your local brewery. So do I. Now close your eyes, and imagine that it has been boarded up. That IPA or amber that you loved is now just a memory. The good times playing cornhole in the parking lot or just discussing beer at the bar … all long gone. This isn’t some kinda-sorta-maybe-potential future. It’s a realistic concern and something that we can help mitigate. I am certain that AB-InBev and Molson Coors can weather this storm … so let’s work to bring the craft guys through, too.
  2. These are your neighbors. I’m not talking about the building – I mean the people working there. Again … close your eyes. Think about your favorite local brewery. If you’re like me, there are people working there that you recognize. The same amazing and friendly faces that you see day-after-day, week-over-week. They’re likely either on the doorstep of being laid off or are in very a dire financial situation because their income has been severely diminished. Every visit to a local brewery helps them. You have a choice – help them remain at the brewery, serving the community, or you can envision them waiting in the unemployment line.
  3. They’re working their tails off for us. Most breweries have turned to online sales and curbside delivery. These businesses have 100% shifted their operations in a way to 1) stay afloat and 2) still get delicious craft beer in your hands. Watching these people that I know walk to my car curbside, wearing gloves and masks, to deliver beer is very humbling to me. They’re serving and working extremely hard. I feel like I owe it to them to continue supporting them and telling as many people as I can to do the same.
  4. They’re not ceasing to innovate. I’ve visited a LOT of breweries in the last week. My bride may tell you that it’s because I’m rapidly emptying the beer fridge because of three kids locked in the house with no end in sight. (She’s right, by the way.) But it’s also because these breweries are still working on new flavors and dropping fun new releases. Some might think a business would circle the wagons and go uber-conservative now. So many breweries are being bold and innovative in the midst of the crisis, and it’s awesome! (More to come in a future post.)
  5. The beer is delicious. That is all.

Go. Yes, in most places it’s still legal. Go and visit a brewery. Buy a 6-pack or three. And if you can’t do that, go online and buy a gift card for future use. Get a shirt, a glass, a frisbie … just do what you can to support them. And make sure you tip BIG. Remember, tips can be a decent portion of the income for your friendly neighborhood brewery worker. I’m going with no less than 25% … will you do the same?



*** Just for fun. Since the ‘Rona hit us, I’ve visited Pontoon (twice), Burnt Hickory, Glover Park, Schoolhouse, Cherry Street (Halcyon), Jekyll, Currahee, and Reformation.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

Well, I sure know how to pick a great day to start the #DrinkAndDropChallenge …

A friend was celebrating her 40th birthday last night … at a place with a pretty solid tap list. And really good ‘bar food.’ THIS is exactly the situation that typically laughs at my feeble willpower, scoffs at my well-intentioned “I’ll just have one” thoughts … this is real life. Can I go to a festive gathering, surrounded by friends, food, beer and still maintain some level of resistance?

In short … yes. These situations are when we turn to little tips and tricks to help make it through those temptations. Borrowing another lyric from a U2 song, Running to Stand Still. “Sweet the sin, but bitter the taste in my mouth.” Yes, the sliders, wings, nachos, and potato skins sound, smell, and look delicious. Of course, I would enjoy them. But how would I feel later tonight … tomorrow morning? Not just physically. How would I feel mentally, knowing that I lost yet another battle with temptation?
The tips and tricks:
– Accountability partner. I don’t care if they publically shame you, slap the food out of your hands, lick the whole bowl … we all need someone to KNOW how to get us to walk away. For me – it’s my spouse, my rock, my smokin’ hot wife.
– Be the DD. This is the gift that keeps on giving. On one hand, you’re the rock star that takes one for the team and offers to get everyone to/from safely. And on top of that, you have a built-in accountability, knowing that you have to stop at one or two so that you’re in good shape to get home. (At least, I hope you have that built-in accountability.) Bonus: it can be quite entertaining to sit back and enjoy the show when other people get a little too “happy.”
– Train Your Brain. This is a long-term solution. But the thought is to continue to tell yourself that the guilty stuff that you love is actually something you don’t like. Easier said than done, I know.
– Eyes on the Prize. Find something tangible to remind you of your goals. If you’re trying to lose twn pounds, write a 10 on your hand. Reaching for the queso, you’ll see the 10 and remember to focus on the goals.
– Don’t Get Discouraged. We all will likely succumb to temptation from time to time. The single most important thing to remember is to not lose focus. One bad decision does not need to lead into a “well, I’ve blown it now … might as well finish the whole bag of Cool Ranch Doritos now” mentality. One decision should have NO bearing on future decisions. Okay, so you had a second pint of stout. BFD. That doesn’t mean that the night is a loss and you can jump into the deep end of the fryer. It’s okay … smile and move on!

Day One – how did I do?

  • Breakfast – a Fiber One Caramel Nut protein bar worth 140 calories.
  • Lunch – I’ll call it a deli sandwich. Swiss, ham, turkey, salami, Dijon mustard. I’m calculating 525 calories.
  • Dinner (at the aforementioned birthday extravaganza) – not so great. I had a much smaller volume of food than I normally would, but the health-quality was not the best. This was pre-ordered food for the party, so I didn’t have much in the way of options. (I know I could still choose to eat something better before I arrive. Lesson for another day.) Two chicken fingers, a few tater tots, and a mozzarella stick. My best guess from MyFitnessPal is about 400 calories.

The Beer

I had three beers … and that still fit within my daily calorie window. I had two Cherry Street Coconut Porters and a Scofflaw Basement. Pretty solid Friday!

And Fitbit says I got in about 5,000 steps. All in all, I think I managed day 1 pretty well. But that’s just Day 1 …

NOTE: I promise every post won’t be this long. When I have more stuff to say about the journey … I’ll share.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington