We are innately tuned to be hunter-gatherers. It’s how we lived and it’s how we evolved. The manly job of the campfire community was to take their weapon out into the open plains and take down a wild animal to feed himself, his family and his friends. No catch, no dinner. And this is hard-wired into our nature – the desire to go out and get things, to provide, to feed, to consume.
We leave our caves and the warmth of the radiators, we go to the store, we hunt up and down the aisles, gathering and filling our basket with vegetables, cleaning products (home and personal) and various condiments before paying for it and taking it home: we still go out and we still bring stuff back, but there’s a whole middle bit which is often missing (handing over cash is not quite the same transaction as spearing a beast). Of course, there are those who do hunt their own food and cook it, but these are the exception not the rule and they do it more for sport than survival.
Could it be that this innate instinct now shows a version of itself in our search for good beer? Does the thrill of the chase satisfy us on a deeper level than sensory pleasure? Is walking into a great bar with some money in your pocket the 21st century equivalent of walking into the jungle with a freshly-sharpened weapon? In the pub you know you’ll find something, you just don’t know what – it might be a standard ale or it may be a fantastic beer that you’ve wanted to try for ages. In the jungle you may find a bony monkey or you might find a great, fat boar.
Everyone has that thing they love to go after and buy. Maybe it’s the latest album or game, new clothes, books, meals out, wine… going out to get these, the ‘thrill’ of the chase to the shop, the moment when your money is transferred, delight at taking something home or enjoying where you are. Some of this survival nature has evolved itself away from hunting to survive and into hunting things for personal enrichment and pleasure. The next time you go into a pub and look up and down the handpumps before choosing the beer you want, stop and think how similar that is to hiding behind a tree in a loincloth and throwing a spear at a wild animal. The need of the instinct has changed, but the enjoyment and satisfaction hasn’t.
Or something like that, anyway.
I got the picture from here. It also has some other fun beer-related pictures, although some are a little... primal.