James Murren
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Black Is Beautiful and Anvil of Hope

The Earning 

It took some eight years of bodysurfing the wave in front of Lifeguard Tower 2 and some not-so-sunny conditions in Ocean Beach, San Diego for me to get my first compliment from a local. Yeah, it felt good.  The story goes like this:

I arrived mid-morning to foggy conditions, not simply a heavy marine layer. From the shore, as I stood and asked myself whether I was going out because I couldn’t see anything beyond the beach break, another guy was doing the same thing. Stepping into the water, I pulled on my surf fins and silently said, why not? I looked over as I swam and saw the other guy. We both surmised that the session was a bit of an unknown, with regard to surf conditions.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere after I swam past the shore break I could see a very crowded lineup: boardsurfers, bodyboarders, and bodysurfers. Looking back to shore, I couldn’t see the lifeguard tower. Everyone was jostling for position and a few unkind words were spoken by some people. I decided that I’d try to get in a few slides since I was already in the water. Somewhere around thirty minutes later, I caught a right, kicked like hell and planed with my bare hand. I tucked in as the four-foot wave crashed and rolled, kicking my finned feet more and riding it out. When I popped my head up out of the water, smile on my face, I heard the following:

“That was pretty. Nice one!”

A local bodysurfer, somewhere in her late 50s, I’d guess, gave me a compliment I had yet to receive. I thanked her and swam back out, working back into the lineup and waiting for another go-round. One more, was the new prevailing thought. It continued for a few more attempts, though none were quite like the “pretty” one.

The Beer

Earn Your Beer Alpine Beer Company Black is BeautifulWeathered Souls Brewing Company (San Antonio, TX) created a recipe for a stout and shared it with the brewing universe. The idea was to have others brew it and then have all breweries donate all proceeds to local organizations around the country/world that work to address inequality, specifically recognizing the Black Lives Matter movement by calling the stout Black is Beautiful.

I agree with all of that and I really like roasty stouts. I stopped in at Alpine Beer Company (Alpine, CA) and picked up a 32 oz half-growler of Black is Beautiful.

Indeed, it was roast and toast that gave the most satisfying feeling knowing that the dollars spent were going to support efforts to combat social injustice.




Another beer that was created to assist people who need it during 2020 and beyond is a hazy IPA by AleSmith Brewing Company (San Diego, CA)  and their new non-profit called Anvil of Hope.

The new brew goes by the name of AleSmith for Hope. Proceeds from this beer go to support COVID-19 frontline workers. The brewery and its new non-profit came together to “pour it forward.”

Tasting notes: pretty much everything you’d expect in a 7.5% hazy IPA, meaning there’s citrus and other tropical fruits. It tastes great knowing that monies are going to people serving their fellow human beings.