How Drinking Beer Can Make You Better at Talking to People.

There are reasons why many people say you need to pick up a hobby and one big reason is that it makes your boring life seem a bit more interesting. Haven’t you ever been in a scenario where someone asks you what you like to do for fun and you don’t know how to answer it because you spend all your free time playing video games or watching sports? There is nothing wrong with doing this with your free time, but if this is how you spend all of your free time then there is an issue.

I want to break down how knowing just a little more about the beer you drink can make you a more interesting person. With this mental framework in your tool belt, you will feel more comfortable talking to anyone. 

Let’s take it back to my experience opening up my first brewery, prior to the actual opening the team spent over a month doing training 3 times a week. Each was given a binder with a list of all the beer and food that would be offered at the brand-new location.

Step 1: History:

The first thing the group was taught was the history of Indian Pale Ales (IPAs), this beer style was created for the need to have a beer survive from Britain to India during the late 1700s to the early 1800s (More on IPA history). The point isn’t to know everything about the history of IPAs but to know enough to create interest in the person you are talking to. In addition to the history of this beer style, the group also got a history lesson on the origin of the brewery. This is great for building interest because everyone loves a good origin story, so next time you are at your favorite brewery figure out how it started.

Step 2: The ingredients and process:

After getting a brief history lesson on IPAs and the brewery, next the group was walked through the process of creating an IPA. It all starts with the water, hops, malt (usually barely), and yeast that make up the main components of brewing beer. You should know that the malt is roasted and the darker the roast will mean a different style of beer. In the case of IPAs, it’s not toasted very much. Hops are cannabinoid-like which is what gives this style of beer a skunky/dank smell to it and it’s all boiled together and yeast is added (living bacteria) to this mixture and left to ferment, the yeast starts to eat the sugars from the malt, then alcohol is made (more detailed process here).  

Step 3: What is your personal favorite and why

After learning all about the history of the beer style and company following how this specific beer style was made, the group finally started tasting all the different styles of beer on tap. This is a critical piece to all of this and it’s that we explored many different styles of beers and would come across our favorites. I started out drinking New Castles (Brown Ale) which was less bitter and a darker style of beer, so I obviously leaned toward their brown/red ales but eventually found my way to IPAs because of their different almost sub-style with things like a Double Indian Pale Ale (DIPA) that meant it had more of the dank flavor and higher alcohol by volume (ABV or gets you drunk quicker) or Hazy IPA (juicy taste less bitter). The point is there is a lot out there. 

First, if you are a beer drinker that did not know any of this congrats now you have more to talk about, and if you are only into drinking Coors, Corona, or Stella (nothing wrong with these) I need you to explore different styles and venture out past your regular drinking hole and visit a brewery or two. 

Now back to the purpose of this post which is to build a mental model to help you become more confident and escape the anxiety of never having anything to talk about. Let’s use this framework and replace beer with just yourself. You can talk about your history, where did you grow up? Or what schools did you go to? Next, you talk about your ingredients and process, what do you do for work or what are you studying? What is all of that like? Finally, personal favorites can be what movies you enjoy or where are some of your favorite music you like to listen to, but most important do not forget to speak about why you like these things.  

Once you are able to break these things down you can use this model as a framework to get other people to talk to you. You don’t need to speed past all of these prompts, let conversations flow, this is to help you feel more comfortable and not worried about running out of things to talk about.

Get after it! -UG