I had lunch and a couple of beers today at The Tap Room with an important Missouri operative for the Obama campaign. We didn't talk about the candidate's rock-star reception in Berlin, but drinking beer at that particular bar and talking Obama with someone who knows what's going on with his campaign reminded me of a conversation I had in exactly the same spot just last night.
I was talking to Mark Naski, one of St. Louis' many secret weapons. Mark did the receipe for the best beer brewed year-around in the St. Louis area (Ofallon's 5 Day IPA), and we all expect great things from the beer he is now brewing for The Stable.
Naski knows brewski. In addition to being a world-traveling master taster and certified judge, he is what one might call a beer professor, teaching such essential material as "Beer Appreciation,"
"What Is Ale?" "What Is Lager?" "What Is Pilsner?" "Big Bad Beers of North America" "What Is Pale Ale?" and "Where Is The Bathroom?"
Just kidding about that last one. The others are all genuine, with the classroom being a bar, namely, The Rotten Apple in Grafton. Beer studies! Talk about a gut course.
Naski also knows Europe. He is from Finland, and routinely travels the world for his day job with a trucking company and to judge beers. (Yes, indeed, good work if you can get it.)
Naski knows what millions of people know around the world, and any American who saw a television today no longer can ignore - that much of the rest of the world is rooting for Obama.
And many of them - especially in a town like Berlin - are rooting for him with a cold beer in hand. In Kenya, in fact, there is a beer, officially branded "Senator," that is known locally as Obama beer.
"So many Americans have no idea," Naski said, cradling a Schlafly Grand Cru that just went on tap for the mussel festival (and will be gone soon).
"Electing Barack Obama will be so good for America overseas," Naski continued. "It will be so good for business! Make no mistake about it. A lot of people all around the world will become instantly more interested in doing business with America if Barack Obama is president."
I'll drink to that!