Trends. Fashion trends, music trends, movie trends, art trends, car trends… etcetera, etcetera. Are they so bad? Are they really evil? Yes, in fact they are. They are like theme parks. They seem fun and innocent for a while, until you get home and wonder what on earth motivated you to pay $7 for a soggy hotdog, and $4 for a watery coke. (That is way more scary then the scariest ride.)
Trend followers are like thrill seekers. There are never satisfied. Just like the theme park rides, they all start and end, and then go around, again and again. Trends come and go, unlike good taste. Trends are have nothing to do with what is new and original, its just about going around and around. That is until you have enough, get sick and then get off.
Trends are bad for true innovation and creativity. It is all about buying and selling, strap people in and keep that roller coaster moving faster and faster. While you are upside down on the new roller coaster trend, your money is falling out of our pockets.
Do you think real innovators like Tom Waits read People magazine or pay attention to music, movie and book charts?
Isn’t it time already to just get off the roller coaster before we all get sick? Stay original… it may even become trendy.
For a long time we have had the suspicion that there is a link between India Pale Ale and artistic creativity. Before you think we are a little loopy, let’s first look at a brief history of this fine beverage.
The British troops who were sent to India more then a century ago, brought with them of course a good supply of their finest ale. However, due to the long voyage and relenting heat, sadly the ale had spoiled before it reached shore. So what did they do? Since hops are a natural preservative, they added double the amount of hops, and made a stronger ale (higher gravity, more alcohol) to survive the journey. Many months of aging in oak wooden casks made for an exceptional new style of robust ale.
A century later, in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, namely Seattle and Portland, this fine ale was re-invented, trading the classic British hops with the more assertive and bold American hops such as the citrus Cascade, and the grapefruity Chinook to create a hop lover’s dream. When we first traveled to Seattle in the early nineties we fell in love with IPAs. Each small brewery and brew pub set out to undue the other in who would create the most hoppiest and complex IPAs. One of the best at the time was the cask-conditioned Pike Place Brewery (now The Pike Brewery) India Pale Ale.
Interestingly we began to notice that good conversation accompanied a good IPA. The more hoppy the IPA the more creative and artistically inspired we felt. (Yes, even more so then espresso.) It seemed that an IPA always seemed to be surrounded by creative and passionate people. Could this be just a coincidence, or was something less obvious at work here? Is it simply due to the fact that the IPA is usually the brew masters most creative and passionate beer that he produces, and so this in turn attracts an equally passionate creative patron. Or is it the fact that no other beer causes such an extreme reaction in its tasters, ranging from hate to euphoria. Or could it possibly be the lupilin effect?
Lupilin is one of the principal ingredients of hops, and the vine itself is a distant relative of the cannabis plant. It is of no surprise then that lupilin has a mild sedative-like effect on the central nervous system, and is often used us a natural remedy for sleep disorders. Reportedly one interesting side effect is that it increases vivid dream activity. Could lupilin be responsible for the hordes of passionate hopheads that seek ever-higher levels of hops in their IPAs? Is that perhaps why the conversations around a pint of IPA more often then not burst with creativity? That is for you to decide.
Stay original… be creative.