Thereís something about a friendly neighborhood pub that evokes an image of refreshment Ė not just the quenching of thirst, but the ascent into a sanctuary from the troubles and trivialities of life. The pubís more upscale cousin, the brewpub, emphasizes beer brewed on the premises, and therefore attracts an ostensibly more enlightened clientele.
I frequent brewpubs first and foremost for the beer, but have discovered that they are also an uncommonly rich resource for poetic inspiration. Here we see businessmen fraternizing over an ale or two, graduate students perusing the want ads at their favorite college watering hole and the tireless drama of men and women searching for their soul mates in a crowded, noisy bar. We also see the spectacle of drunkenness Ė crossing the line from euphoria to intoxication in a staggering journey that can be both comical and sad. Itís all here Ė for the price of a pint.
I came up with the idea of writing the brewpub chronicles not long after the first time I visited The Rockbottom Brewery in Minneapolis with a notebook in my hand. That was years ago. Since then Iíve written dozens of haiku and senryu in and about brewpubs throughout the country. The brevity of the haiku form is ideally suited for momentary glimpses into lives as seen through an unfiltered ale. Haiku observes but never judges, leaving any speculation to the reader. As a brewpub is a microcosm of human existence, I hope the brewpub chronicles provide a refreshing distillation of life.
Paul David Mena
18 September 1998
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