Craft beer. 3rd wave coffee. It's everywhere, it's great, and it's part of all of us.
There's so much more to drinking a beer than getting hammered. The wonderful gold liquid is a social lubricant, a creative stimulant, and a tasteful delight... that is, when it's consumed in moderation. Science tells us it's true- that our artistic juices flow just a little bit faster when a bit of alcohol gets in the system. We can call it bio-enhancement, but drinking a beer is actually a centuries old calorie-packer, and more importantly, a fascinating expression of culture.
Then you have coffee. Much like beer, it stimulates the senses. More effective with it's attention focusing attributes, a good old cup o' joe will put you on track for mind-blowing productivity. Yes, it's also a social lubricant, and it's brought some of the greatest minds of history together to sit at tiny little tables and discuss huge ideas. It fuels the gears of society, powering both economic output and intellectual thought. The cappuccino, mocha, café au lait, cold brew - whatever you want to call it - is the earthly manifestation of the human's desire to harvest, cultivate, create, and share.
Today, the two heavenly beverages are colliding. They're becoming one, as coffee-stouts are being poured in the trendiest new bars and iced coffees are being infused with nitrogen, and poured on tap. It seems like the hipster's dream- two craft cultures are becoming ever-more intertwined and the chemistry behind the barista-brewer 'movement' is becoming increasingly respected.
The beverages are fusing, cultures are evolving, and the way we drink beer and coffee are so alike that we're tempted to examine and discuss this 'foodie' phenomenon in a social, if not philosophical sort-of way. With the introduction of the 'latte on tap', we can now get a creamy, pre-prepared coffee on draught. Now, just like we can with beer, we can tap into a hidden network of pipes and tubes to get our favorite drink. Yes, we've created an easier way to get our 'buzz' on, but in fact, we've also developed a new channel for creating social experiences.
It's not just beer and coffee that's sitting in the keg, and flowing out the spigot. What lies underneath the countertop are some of our most important ingredients for culture - the natural, earthly elements that we've collected and modified, and will soon digest. We'll find different varieties across the globe - a Kirin in Japan, a Heineken in the Netherlands, an americano in the states and and café con leche in Spain - but they're all products of the same natural elements, and the wants of a shared human desire.
We drink to fulfill our basic dietary needs. But we also drink to socialize, to create, and to share. We'll do it differently wherever we're at, and act accordingly to the norms of our environment. But whenever we fill up that ceramic mug, or that pint-sized glass, we're doing so much more than feeding an addiction, or giving in to a cultural fad; we're participating in a global, social phenomenon- a cultural exhibition and a culinary art-form that is inherently tied to a collectively shared human experience.
This article originally appeared on substrand.com