What pairs better with a delicious craft beer than a good time? Its true, from concerts to sports events, we have a tendency to celebrate good times with good brew. Though this may very well be passed down tradition from the days of great battle in the arena, and other famous faux paux reasons to raise a glass, we have always associated beer with great entertainment and celebration.
Note that we don't always need brew to have a good time. Just as many, if not all, of these things are enjoyed just as much without imbibing as they are with. However, our connection with entertainment and drink has had a long standing romance and has created and nurtured entire new genres of art.
For instance, during prohibition the speakeasies were a common sanctuary for lesser known musical acts or artists that otherwise would have never had a shot in front of a large audience.
As alcohol was banned throughout the U.S., people found other places that would cater to the thirst of the people, both in entertainment and in drink. The speakeasies and Juke Joints of the time were places that had already built a counter culture which was present and ready to enjoy new exciting and alternate forms of being entertained. Local artists and performers ready to take risks and bare all, to try different things were welcome here. Musicians, singers, actors, comedians, (sometimes all in one) all were welcome. A safe place for all that gathered; a sanctuary where all were equal no matter caste, race, or economic status. These speakeasies of yore were incubators for a movement that would inoculate the entire culture starting a unique artistic renaissance beginning in the late 50s and spanning through out the 70s.
In the late 50s and early 60s, art started taking shape into something that needed to be perfected in front of an audience. There was a switch to emphasis on live entertainment as the counter culture grew. It was a time when a burst of inspiration in the streets could spark an entire career. As festivals and concerts swoll in numbers, so did the need for new ways to entertain. Live art could no longer be boxed into one category.
Somewhere in here, buried in these deep roots, began the art of the comedic monologue without props, or Stand Up Comedy. Though you could as far back as the minstrel shows of the 19th century, or as recent as the famous acts from the Chitlin Circuit, there are MANY names accredited to being the first act to perform speaking directly to the audience, as themselves without props or “in one”. We are not here to decide who started it.
We could also fill the pages of insurmountable books with the heroic contributions and struggles of such freedom fighters as Moms Mabley or the great Lenny Bruce, but that is for another time. This is a love song to the Speakeasy! The Juke Joint! This is a love song... to your local craft brewery?
That's right. Much like the days mentioned above there is a very alive and dynamic counter culture happening in America right now. Local businesses, started up by your friends and
neighbors, some of whom are turning their backs to the status quo and doing things their way. The hard working brewers at your local brewery are starting a movement that echoes of the past. These new businesses are supported by you and your very own local community, and most of these hardworking people are not the invisible corporate figure heads of companies before but now LOCAL friends and neighbors that are enriching the community by adding measurable economic growth. Not just creating the delicious foamy drinks we love so well, but creating a new safe space for the local artist to be given a chance. Again, much like the speakeasies that came before them.
Though most bars have bands on the weekend, and big theaters definitely have well known comedic acts that come through for ticketed shows, there is a huge vacuum of places that are willing to take a risk on comedy. Or at least that was the case. With the rise of craft beer and the local pub, we have seen a resurgence towards keeping things local. We have become local centric and want to support our community as much as possible. This also means local artists and craft brewers have been more than accepting of that idea. More and more local breweries are the backdrop for local stand up comedy shows popping up throughout the state. Thanks to the grassroots movement of craft brewing, we have created a culture around craft. And it is that very culture that shows up and supports local craft in its many forms. True craft.
As with most forms of live theater, be it music or performance art, stand up comedy needs the reaction from the crowd to exist. It is the electricity that runs from the audience to the performer that makes it work. The reaction of joy. This chemistry is the very dynamic that makes it possible, and your local brewery is providing that.
This shows that the brewers who have invested their future with the local community are reaching out and doing the same in return. Taking risk to see local art/artists supported; creating a cross pollination of local based entertainment and business, which is thriving!
Not only are breweries providing us with an amazing local product, but they are providing us with a space for entertainment! A venue that you can visit in your very own hometown. An eclectic gathering of your friends and family, not just enjoying the company and drink, but pairing it with a good time. And maybe, just a few laughs!
Make sure to check Appalachian hub for upcoming shows at a local brewery near you.
Also, stay tuned for more articles on beer, breweries, ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶b̶e̶a̶r̶s̶̶ , and events.
Chaz Blevins: Craft Comedy