30 Years Of The AHA (Yep. You Gotta Keep Reading to Learn What And Why)

Nearly lost amidst repeal madness is another (upcoming) anniversary: On December 7, 1978, Charlie Papazian and Charlie Matzen launched the American Homebrewers Association. I wrote about that event and the organization in my book -- and as the anniversary approaches, I remember this:

Interviewing both of the Charlies about that day in December. They both told me (independently) about sitting on the floor of a friend's apartment, madly cutting and pasting, creating the first issue of Zymurgy. This was back when people still used mimeograph machines (most of you probably don't even know what those where) and real paper and scissors and bottles of glue.

They acted out of sheer passion, the kind that flows when you're young and you believe anything's possible. I think of it as the stuff of which history -- large or small -- is made.

So to the Charlies I say: Thanks for that day in December. And to Charlie Papazian I say: Salud! You've made our lives better, one beer at a time.

NOTE: I have tons of deleted prose about this event, material that never made it into the book. Starting Sunday, I'll be posting it in a series devoted to that moment in the history of American beer. (Gulp. Did I just promise a series of blog entries?? Oy.)