When my sweetie and I were in San Francisco recently, we visited one of our besties, Joyce. Joyce is not a beer drinker. (Don't worry, she has other, much cooler hobbies). When we were walking through Inner Sunset, we passed a corner store with snacks and wine and fancy beers with unfamiliar labels in the window that beckoned my perusal. True friends do stuff with you they are not remotely interested in, and Joyce is a true friend (she may have also been in it for the snacks).
The store was called, misleadingly, Room Service - not misleading in that their emphasis is on delivery, but it is misleading in that they have a kickass brew selection. It was full of the essentials for surviving life: beer, wine, liquor, and candy, all picked out by someone who doesn't want you to waste time on anything but the good stuff.
Because we were due on a plane in a few hours, we limited ourselves to a single, solitary can of Yo-Ho's Sorry Umami IPA, brewed with bonito flakes. The IPA is part of a series from Japan's Yo-Ho Brewing Company called, "I'm Sorry! I Didn't Ask What You Like," beers that the brewers wanted to drink and presumably didn't market test. (Kind makes me think of the same brazenness Humphry Slocombe had in naming "Here's Your Damn Strawberry.")
We ended up chatting with the loveliest clerk in the world, Justin, who, like all beer fans, spied a potential convert in Joyce. He insisted that she'd enjoy St Archer's Peach Gose ("it went great with D&D the other night!") and gave us each a can out of the goodness of his salty, top-fermenting-loving heart.
Y'all, he gave us FREE beer. Free beer to people he didn't even know. Free beer to people he didn't even know who otherwise were buying a single can of beer. If we weren't in San Francisco, so much niceness would have made me think we up and landed in Toronto.
Time was precious, and as the saying goes, you don't look at gift beer and not put it in your mouth. We went back to Joyce's place and drank them on the floor out of teacups while Joyce's momma watched television in the next room, and I felt like I was having the rebellious youth I never had.
I love so much about this moment. I was with my sweetie and my dear friend, trying a new beer together, a beer that had been gifted enthusiastically by someone excited to extend a cherished experience to total strangers. We didn't need proper glasses or a table or even chairs. In the case of Joyce, we didn't even need to like beer.
Also, Joyce's reaction - an unfiltered read by someone who doesn't give a shit about style hype - was pure gold.
If you are thinking there is someone in your life whom you need to introduce to a many layered, poultry-flavored beverage, I say do it. Pull out the teacups and pay the love forward.