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Session #52: Beer Collectibles & Breweriana

Logo for The SessionThis month’s Session topic is brought to us courtesy of All Over Beer. And what a topic it is: Collectibles and “Breweriana”

I was going to start this post off with a long throat clearing bit about the conflict between expressing my individuality and being identified and accepted as part of a group. But I won’t. Let me cut to the chase: Breweriana? I have a few things. Collectibles: none.

Why?

Nomad, Vagabond, Call Me What You Will

Well, there’s plenty of reasons, I suppose. For one, the last time I calculated, I have moved residences at a rate of once every 1 year-3 months. I’m 35. At this point in my life I’m reduced a modest collection of clothing, a few bits of exercise equipment that would be too expensive to repurchase new, some kitchen gadgets I really like (including a legit Juice-O-Mat from the Olden Days), a butt load of books, and some glassware (but more on that in a bit). No knickknackery, no furniture (really), no holiday decorations, no electronics (except a recently purchased XBox for which I own zero games) and this laptop. I’m exaggerating a little, but only a very little bit and not in a way that changes the substance of what I’m saying.

But my vagabond lifestyle can’t be all of it. I mean, I do own some stuff, some of which (ahem: did I mention I have a metric butt load of books?) are a real pain in the ass to move up and down stairs and in and out of garages.(Thanks E and Eee for the storage space!)

If I were a Rich Man

The biggest reason is probably a lack of excess dollars. For the last few years I’ve been going to school full time and it’s been very difficult to scrounge up enough cash to subsidize my regular living: phone bills, internet, and the like. But even before this current era, I rarely spent my cash on breweriana or any other kind of collectible. I’d rather have stuff I use than stuff I can look at and/or merely “own.” I mean, what else do you have a collectible for? To say, “Oh?! One of those? I have one of those.” I’m ok with the idea that someone may find brewery coasters beautiful and they collect and maybe even display them like others buy and display prints of famous pictures, or buy and hang up the work of local artists. Sometimes you just can’t look at a that one Guinness poster enough on the internet, so you have to buy it. I’m not like that.

It’s not that I wouldn’t want some of those things around. I would just rather spend my money traveling to the next brewery or brewpub. I would rather spend a weekend in Memphis or a week in San Francisco. I would like to save up for that trip to Rio. I would rather buy that book that will help me with my thesis or go to the movies with my Special Lady Friend. A coaster can only bring so much joy.

With that said, I do own some things.

The Things I Carry

I used to have a lot of stickers which I collected and put on my computer. Here’s a picture of me at the Beer Bloggers Conference in Boulder with said computer. I added a few more stickers on Day 3 of the conference and then, on my way home, promptly dropped the computer and had to have it replaced. The replacement is not so bedecked. I owned these stickers less than 72 hours.

I own these shirts. I paid for 2.5 of them. (I say I only paid for half the Miller shirt because I really wanted the Miller pail and the beers inside. The shirt was just part of the package.) The rest were provided free for various reasons.

And I do own a lot of glassware: Several coffee mugs which are dear to me, several shaker pints from various breweries, several imperial pint glasses, lots of rocks glasses, a few collins glasses, a couple brandy snifters (including one of those really huge ones), two comically large margarita glasses, a mismatched set of martini glasses. I don’t actually own any wine glasses because I only started really caring about wine in the last few years and the SLF has plenty of wine glasses. I own no champagne flutes.

But, with the exception of the shaker and imperial pints with brewery logos on them, none of these constitute breweriana and none of them are “collectibles.”

I am fascinated by subcultures and how they operate, and identifiable peripheral hobbies like “collecting stuff related to that thing I like” is part of that. Right now, the only reason you would know I like beer is because I have some in the fridge and some of it has been there several months, just waiting until it’s perfect.

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Posted in The Drinking Class.