A few years ago, when Instagram was becoming a thing and people started taking photos of the elegantly plated meals they had at restaurants, I remember reading a screed somewhere that criticized the practice. The author took issue with people using their smartphone cameras to snap blurry, heavily filtered, square photos of “blobs of food.” His rationale was that the image of the food alone didn’t communicate the excitement of the experience.
That spoke to me.
During a visit to Cooperstown in 2012, we stumbled into the dining room of the Council Rock Brewing. It was early October, and the brewery was commemorating Oktoberfest like any good beer supplier would do. Overwhelmed by the choices of beers available, I resorted to ordering a flight. At first, I was tempted to snap a photo of my flight which looked like an artist’s easel covered with several tawny pigments. But I resisted because that photo would not have captured the excited anticipation of sampling each brew. Instead, I posed for a snapshot.
Since then, it’s become somewhat of a theme for each time I get a flight at a brewery tap room. (What can I say? I like structure.)
Last year, I ordered a flight after a very hot, sixty-mile ride on Bastille Day from Poughkeepsie to Beacon via New Paltz. Although I look a little bit exhausted in the blurry photo, I was really excited to cap off a great ride with some delicious beer and kick off a great day in Beacon.
This year, I started to make a conscious effort to make these kinds of photos, as part of a series, especially when I buy a flight at the end of a bike ride.
For example, in October, I posed for a photo with a flight I got at The Vault Brewing in Yardley, Pennsylvania. If I don’t look like my usual content and composed self, it’s because I was suffering from an allergic reaction and was drowsy from a double-dose of Benadryl.
I was in slightly higher spirits carrying these beers in Patchogue at the Blue Point Brewery after riding there from Jamaica over Labor Day weekend.
And the following week, I posed with one glass from my flight at Greenport Harbor Brewing after riding to Orient on one of the greatest days of the year.
Last month, I had a fellow rider shoot a photo of me posing with a flight at Two Roads Brewing in Stratford, Connecticut, as part of our ride to New Haven.
Another fellow rider more or less recreated the October 2012 photo with this shot of me at the Green Growler in Croton-on-Hudson.
Even on occasions where I didn’t ride a bike to a brewery, I still posed with the flight. I did so at last week’s holiday party at Rockaway Brewing.
Speaking of the holidays, I am now in California for almost three weeks and this first week, I am spending it with my parents. We ventured to do some grocery shopping, and almost immediately, as if I were a computer programmed to do so, I found the tap room for Bravery Brewing, in Lancaster, California.
Twenty years ago, it seemed unthinkable to have a pretty solid brewery in the Antelope Valley. But I think, like an Irish pub and Chinese restaurant, any town worth a damn will also have a local brewery tap room.
And, of course, I’ll be there to order flight and get a photo of me excitedly waiting to try it.