I can think of two scenarios in which I’ve been asked, “Why do you drink beer?” Perhaps you can identify with at least with one of the situations:
1. A concerned friend believes that drinking alcohol is sinful, and concerned for my well being asks: “Why do you drink beer?”
2. Fellow beer lover is posing the question hypothetically, meant to induce a moment of well needed introspection. Perhaps I at times have gotten too serious (yes, it’s possible) or over analytical in dissecting the flavor of a beer.
The first , while I respect the opinion and intent, is easily and logically dismissible (see here for more). The second actually needs to be dwelt on from time to time, to bring me back down to earth. There is a time and place for reviewing and considering the complexity of flavor profiles, but if a person dwells solely on the prideful and public (say, in a blog) boasting of their palate, then they have wandered from what first drew them to beer and revisit to their roots is in order.
In my opinion, the answer to the question is primarily universal to the beer enthusiast or to the occasional beer drinker:
It makes me happy.
Is that so hard to grasp? What does beer (or wine, for that matter) have that milk, juice, or some expensive lime flavored soda water do not? Alcohol. Yes, alcohol is the key ingredient in beer that, along with its magnificent flavor, makes it so enjoyable. You need not be a drunkard to appreciate the pleasant effects of alcohol. Just one beer, while failing to induce inebriation or a relinquishment of the senses, will dilate the blood vessels, warming the skin, relax the muscles, soothe tired nerves, and even prompt healthier conversation. Any beer lover, regardless of moral/spiritual background, should ever feel guilty admitting they enjoy more than just the flavor of beer.
The flavor of beer and the effects is has on the body make it a perfect communal beverage. Weddings, graduations, birthdays, barbecues, and family/friend get-together are enhanced with beer. Sitting on the couch and sharing a beer and a television program with my wife is amongst the most enjoyable of experiences. Sure, we can have that time together without the beer, but if beer makes us both happy why would we eliminate that denominator?
This outlook a historical fixture of we as race of people: In fact, my own tradition (Christianity) has hailed alcohol as qualitative to happiness. In the biblical book of Judges, written approximately 1040 B.C., the ancient author states that the purpose of the vine is to bear fruit for wine: “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’ And the vine said to them, ‘Should I leave my wine, which cheers God and man, and go to wave to and fro over the trees?’ ” (Jdg. 9.13). Note the word “cheers.” Cow is not to milk as wine is to vine, in this passage. It’s pretty clear that the alcohol brings happiness to men (Cross reference Psalm 104.14-15: “He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate—bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man.”) but does it really cheer God? Even in the Old Testament alcohol in the form of wine was offered up as a drink offering to God (Leviticus 23.13; Numbers 15.5-10).
Clearly, the intent of alcohol (assuming moderation), including our frothy friend beer, is to make us happy…even the authors of ancient holy texts got it.
So what’s the point of beer? Enjoyment! Far be it from that I should find myself feeling resentful to another beer lover over our different interpretations or appreciation of a beer or style. Far be it from that I should hold my head higher than the rest. Far be it from me that beer should becomes a task, a bucket list, or a status symbol. Like I said, there is a time and a place for beer reviews and attempting to pick up on intricate flavors of beer, BUT if that is all that beer has become, than the joy has gone.
I drink beer, and it makes me happy.