I recently found a podcast, Tasting Notes, which combines two of my favorite things:  beer and music.  Each week, the hosts, Reis Hansen, Adam Mackie, and Tony Porreca, and a guest taste craft beer and try to match it to a song or an album.  It is an interesting and way to taste beer, talk about the beer, and talk about the how the beer is made.  If you like craft beer it is a fun and informative listen.

On the last show, the guest was Ben Howe the head brewer of Idle Hands Craft Ales and the owner of Enlightenment Ales. The thing that stands out is Howe’s passion for craft beer.  He loves every part of making beer, from the original conception of the beer to the name of the beer to the artwork on the label.  He has a true unquenchable passion for what he does. 

As consumers of art, literature, music, beer, food, we can all tell when someone truly has a passion for what they are doing.  We can tell when someone creates something that is more than just a thing they are doing for money.  You can tell when someone puts not only their skill but their soul into a project.  That is probably why I like craft beer and podcasts.  There is very little money in either.  The people who do these things and are successful are the people who care the most about what they are doing.

There is so much stuff out there, how do you distinguish between what is worthwhile and what isn’t. You really can’t.  What you can do is sample as much stuff as you can and hope you experience those worthwhile things more often than not, and the distinguishing characteristic about the things that are worth your time is the passion behind them.

That is why events like the Great American Beer Festival are great.  Even though GABF can be a shit show of people trying to get drunk 3 ounces at a time, if you really care about craft beer you do get the opportunity to interact with the brewers and let them tell you about their beers.  This may be the most fun part of the experience.  Anytime you have passionate, articulate people talk to you about their passion, you will learn a lot. 

That passion is a hard thing to find for many people.  Some are lucky and they find their passion early and work to hone it for years.  Others, wander about looking for it, with it just out of reach.  They know it is out there. They know there is something missing in their lives that they should be doing.  Sometimes those people find it, but more often than not, they don’t and settle for something that at least pays the bills. 

So here is to all those fortunate people who have found a way to make money through their passion.  They have never worked a day in their lives and they are the luckiest of us all.  May they continue to entertain and feed us. 

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