Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Passionate Cat

photo by -Tripp-via PhotoRee
I recently had the opportunity to head over to one of my favorite South Florida watering holes, the Original Fat Cat's.  I like the place not only for the beer collection -- which is stellar, by the way -- but even more so for a quality that's rare to find these days, and which exists in spades in Don, the gentleman who oversees the bar: passion.

The older I get, the more I seem to understand life.  And one lesson I've learned repeatedly over the years is that there are few things in life that make time pass more quickly than truly loving what you do.  And by "what you do," I mean not only professionally, but personally, as well.  There is no better thing in life than to be passionate about what you do.

And Don happens to be passionate about beer.  Not any beer, but rather craft beer.  No Molson guy he, Don is an evangelist for the hundreds of small breweries popping up across our nation, spreading the gospel of craft beer to anyone who is smart enough to listen to him.

Maybe that's why we get along so well.  I don't know Don incredibly well, but each time I see him I can just about see the craft beer coursing through his veins.  We spent about an hour the other night talking about Don's recent beer tasting and brewery tour trip to the State of Colorado, home to Avery, Oskar Blues,  Great Divide and Wynkoop Brewing, among others.   Full of knowledge, Don overflowed with pure joy as he described to me the events of his week in Nirvana, and made me think more deeply about how much he loves his subject.  After all, here's a guy who works around beer all week, and what does he do on his vacation?  Goes on a beer tasting tour.  Now that's passion.

And Don's love for his subject is infectious.  As my friends began to fill in alongside me at the bar, we no longer asked for specific beers, we left our choices in the hands of a true master.  And Don didn't disappoint: during the course of about an hour and a half, Don pulled out a Summer Berry Weisse from Pennsylvania Brewing, a Billy's Chilies Beer from Twisted Pine, an Undercover Investigator Shut-Down Ale from Lagunitas, a Three Philosophers from Brewery Ommegang and a Gamma Ray from Terrapin, among others, surprising me with choice after choice, and grinning from ear to ear the whole time.

So for those of you stuck in jobs you merely endure, rise up -- there are ways to earn a living that allow you to do what you truly love, and Don is living proof.  And those of you drinking bad beer, rise up, too.  Life is too short to drink bad beer.  Much like the locavore movement sweeping US food industry, there is great craft beer being brewed right in your own back yard.  Try it -- I promise you'll like it.

And for those of you visiting South Florida, or those of you who are lucky enough to live here, if you love craft beer, you need to stop by Original Fat Cat's and have a cold beer or two.  And when you get to talking to Don, just tell him farlieonfootie sent you.

This is farlieonfootie for July 23.

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