STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Put your phone and laptop away and rediscover real human interaction. And while we’re at it, let’s find out about some American craft brewers.
Welcome to Thinking & Drinking, a new card game that leads to, in the words of its creators, “self discovery or self destruction.”
Well, the truth is you don’t even need to be drinking to play, although it is intended for ages 21+. But you can add your own rules, like making someone take a drink if they refuse to answer a question.
What questions? Thinking & Drinking comes with more than 300 question cards, written to stimulate conversation and to get to know your friends/guests better. “One of the ones we put out there a lot that gets a lot of reactions is: ‘If giving up cheese made you immortal, would you do it?’,” said Royersford resident Jonathan Cooper, who together with his wife, Nikki, launched a Kickstarter campaign April 27 to print and produce the game. According to Cooper, the former Vice-President Media Relations and Employee Communications of Digital First Media, just two days after the launch, Thinking & Drinking was already 20 percent to its crowdfunded goal.
“I think crowdfunding and crowdsourcing are pretty incredible. They let you test your ideas for viability. (Contributors) say: ‘I believe in you’,” he said.
As a bonus, each card in the game — Cooper’s wife handled the graphic design — has a craft brewer profile on it, including city, website, social media handles and a photo of either a can, bottle, tap handle or a growler of one of their brews. Cooper said that thanks to important assists from the Brewer’s Association and the Gaming Manufacturers Association, all 50 states and Washington D.C. are represented. There are recognizable names like Sam Adams and Stone Brewing Co., and ones you might not be familiar with like New Belgian Brewing Co. and Philly’s St. Benjamin Brewing, which Cooper described as a “nanobrewery.”
“We focus on what we like to call the ‘drink local’ message. If you travel for pleasure or travel for work, come out and try their beer,” said Cooper, explaining why he’s giving these beer-makers free advertising.
Budweiser may have been joking in their Super Bowl commercial, which took a Goliath potshot at their comparatively pint-sized-David competition, but there really is such a thing as a pumpkin peach ale. See if you can find it in one of the six decks of 54 question cards. There are IPAs, stouts, saisons and beers with flavors ranging from jalapeño peppers to chocolate.
While the trendy craft beers all seem to be coming from the Northwest and California, something that’s not common knowledge, Cooper said, is “Pennsylvania is a very strong brewing state.” Thinking & Drinking’s cards feature a notable number of breweries in the Keystone State: 3 Guys & A Beer’d in Carbondale (Lackawanna County); the Appalachian Brewing Co. brewpubs in Collegeville, Mechanicsburg, Lititz, Camp Hill and Harrisburg; Battlefield Brew Works of Gettysburg; Brew Gentlemen Beer Co. in Braddock (Allegheny County); Conshohocken Brewing Co.; Crystal Ball Brewing Co. of York; Lavery Brewing Co. in Erie; Neshaminy Creek Brewing of Croydon; Prism Brewing Co., which for now is in Upper Gwynedd; Round Guys Brewing Co. of Lansdale; Saucony Creek Brewing Co. of Kutztown; Sly Fox Brewing Co. in Pottstown and Phoenixville; Downingtown-based Victory Brewing Co.; Weyerbacher Brewing in Easton; Philadelphia’s Yards Brewing; and D.G. Yuengling & Son of Pottsville.
Wait, Yuengling is considered a craft brewer? “They were re-classified as a craft beer (by the Brewers Association). They came in as the No. 1 craft beer in terms of size (sales volume in 2014),” Cooper said, adding that Sam Adams (Boston Beer Co.) was No. 2.
“It’s just like for sports teams or musicians — you cheer for who’s local to you. You have a sense of ownership because they’re local to you,” he said.
Thinking & Drinking isn’t designed to be a competitive game with score-keeping, winners and losers, but the beauty of it is you can make it that way if the other players are into it. A small sample of the other questions in the game — some of which Cooper came up with in the middle of the night — are: Other than your bed, where’s the last place you slept? What mythological creature do you wish existed? If you could meet anyone (living or dead), who would it be?
To track Thinking & Drinking’s progress, or to contribute, check out www.thinkingdrinking.beer, www.facebook.com/ThinkingAndDrinking, and on Twitter @ThinkingDrink.