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Exploring Beer’s Role In “The Good Life”

For our 139th Session, our host will be William Vanderburgh, who writes Craft Beer in San Diego. For his topic, he’s chosen Beer and the Good Life, which he sums up. “Beer ads famously sell us “the good life” — fit, scantily clad friends imbibing on boats and beaches in the summer sun. But that’s advertising, not real life (not often anyway). So how does beer fit into a well-lived life? What does beer mean to being a good person, or having a good life?”

His topic is fairly broad and open-ended, so interpret it in any way that makes sense to you. Bill also has a few suggestions of ways you could approach the topic to get your thinking juices flowing.

  • What role does beer play in your life? Does it help or hurt, on balance?
  • What does enjoying beer mean to you?
  • Creating a life full of pleasure (including the enjoyment of good food and drink) is a moral responsibility one owes to oneself and there is no better way to live.
  • Good beer, good food, good books, good friends–these are the things that make a good life.
  • How much beer is good? How much beer is bad?
  • Is getting drunk/wasted an appropriate part of a life well lived? Is an occasional blow-out a good way to “release” (or however you think of it)?
  • You could do other things with your time/money: Is it wrong to spend it on beer instead of something else? How do you balance your personal desires with your other responsibilities?
  • Beer and Community: Is the point of beer to help humans connect?
  • Beer and Justice: How can we justify enjoying a pint when so many things are wrong in the world, and in the beer world itself? There are many recent hot topics that would fit well here: Beer and gender, identity, race, class, etc.
  • How does blogging about beer, or talking about beer with friends, enhance your life?
  • Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Is the unexamined beer not worth drinking?

I confess that whenever I hear the phrase “the good life,” what I think of is the mid-1970s BBC television series starring Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith, and Paul Eddington, although if you’re American and it’s not ringing any bells, that may be because when it aired on PBS in the U.S., it was renamed “Good Neighbors.” I loved that show, and had such a crush on Felicity Kendal. I recently spent an enjoyable evening n Belgium discussing “The Good Life” with Roger Protz, who also loved the show.

To participate in the September Session, simply post a link to your session post by commenting at the original announcement, or email Bill on or before Friday, September 7.

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