What is #pintsandpols?

Craft Beer. Local Issues. Interesting People. Diverse Views.  Open to all.

Three delicious craft beers from Societe Brewing in San Diego

The above picture is a somewhat gratuitous nod to Societe Brewing, one of my favorite San Diego craft brewers (whose tasting room is in Clairemont Kearny Mesa).  The phrases at the top sum up what has grown into an occasional gathering of, well, anyone who wants to gather. What started as banter on Twitter has grown into at least a couple business relationships, several friendships and an interesting mix of right, center and left political orientations.  One quick side note.  The use of the term “we” usually suggests an “us” and a “them”, but in this case when I use the term I just mean everyone who has ever shown up to an event.   For those looking for an actual “description” of the event or to understand how it “works” (or to know why I’m so gratuitously using quotation marks) please read on…

The basics:  There are several rich discussions going on in San Diego about the future of our city (and about good food and craft beer and music, but that’s another post). Many of these discussions are happening on Twitter.  I explained the extreme basics for using Twitter at a conference and posted it here.  Anyway, there is a web of people connected on Twitter and any one of them can create a #pintsandpols event.  Every few weeks someone tweets “hey, when’s the next #pintsandpols” and then someone else either volunteers or is goaded into “organizing” one.  This is not a gratuitous use of quotation marks, it’s a reflection of the scant actual organizing.  The person who organizes essentially is responsible for notifying the establishment that a bunch of thirsty b#$%stids are coming and then tweets about it enough to get a few people to show up.  That’s it.  Well, almost it.  I’d say if there is an informal rule to organizing it’s that you ought to be engaged enough in discussion on Twitter that the word will get out.

I asked a few people how they’d describe #pintsandpols, here’s what I got:

Ben Katz (@meanestbossever): “We drink beer & talk politics (& sometimes a bit of religion).”

Gaby Dow (@gabrieladow): “Fun, sharp crowd being adventurous in beer and poli(itical) talk.”

One other key point.  Just like the “organizing” isn’t really organized, there is no set focal point, no organization of topics and you are the master of your own fun. Drift in and out of the many conversations if you like. This is not a networking event, not a dating event and not a knitting club (though I hear those can be pretty cool).  If you find it lame, no one will be offended if you leave and if you make some friends, stay awhile.  The lack of rules is, well, a bit refreshing.

Oh, and square your bar tab at the bar or with a server of your liking.  To my knowledge no one has found the event a wealthy benefactor to subsidize our consumption, so it’s not a hosted type of thing.

Wait, how do I find out about it again? Check twitter.  Seriously. Look for the hashtag #pintsandpols, that’s your best bet.  (Note: a “hashtag” is a way to identify tweets by topic even if you don’t “follow” the person who tweeted it. So you don’t have to know me or anyone else I mention in this post.  Just log on to twitter or heck, by now you might be able to type #pintsandpols into the google and get an explanation).  Anyway, everybody has day jobs and kids and volunteer stuff and other friends and cheese to grate.  There really is no time to get too fancy about organizational detail, then it would become too much like yet another job.

The history: It started as a bet between Rachel Laing (@rachellaing) and Jeff Johnson (@echo5juliet), at least that’s what I think.  I wasn’t really paying close attention, but someone won, there was talk of buying a drink and I suggested we ought to get on a shuttle bus and have multiple drinks at multiple local craft breweries.  Clever wordsmith Matt Awbrey (@mattable) gave birth to this title.  Really it only has a name because with 140 characters to work with on Twitter brevity is both essential and practical. I may have some or all of this wrong and reserve the right to update it when corrected.

Where we’ve gone:  We’ve done our civic duty to provide stimulus by shopping locally at several establishments (Does it help? The link looks like it might be a front for one side of the debate, but you be the judge).  The list runs as follows

Pints & Pols #1 – Brewery Tour to Green Flash, Hess, and White Labs followed by North Park walk to Carnitas Snack Shack and The Foundry (@carnitassnacks)

Pints & Pols #2 – Family friendly Sunday afternoon at Blind Lady Ale House in Normal Heights. (@blindladyale)

Pints & Pols #3 – Not family friendly enjoyment of Downtown Johnny Brown’s in, well, downtown. (@dtjohnnybrowns)

Pints & Pols #4 – Slightly northern get together at High Dive in Clairemont.

Pints & Pols #5 – 9/15 at Counterpoint in Golden Hill.

Pints & Pols #6 – 1/18 at Societe Brewing in Kearny Mesa

Pints & Pols #7 (debate#3) – We listened to a funny little clip about horses during the debate, which was viewed at Clem’s Tap House in Kensington.  I wouldn’t technically call this a Pints & Pols, but it did give me an excuse to giggle at the debate clip again.

Pints & Pols #8 – 1st Anniversary Brewery Tour – This epic, fun hot mess was on 3/30/13, read about it here.

Pints & Pols #9 – COMING UP on 5/10 at Nate’s Garden Grill (4PM until some time after that) – City Heights finds craft beer and sustainably farmed food…and we all delight in this information.

Pints & Pols #?? (lost count, sorry)Coin-Op Game Room on 1/3/14 (4:30 until 8:00-ish) – Along 30th Street in North Park. There’s a big parking garage about a block south that only costs $5, FYI, and the entrance is on 29th.

Pints & Pols Panama (not the country)Panama 66 some time in November of 2014 I think. – The good folks who gave us Blind Lady Ale House and Tiger! Tiger! decided to get creative in Balboa Park.  So in celebration of their decision to bring great beer to San Diego’s crown jewel we loaded up a few tables and made a go of it.

New!!! Pints & Pols (3/14/15)Las Cuatro Milpas and Border X Brewing – If you haven’t been paying attention, Barrio Logan has been on a come up the last few years.  Buoyed by inherent cultural swag, some new fun artists who are working with this guy and riding off a string of solid new projects, this is a fun place to spend an afternoon. Join at LCM at 2PM (bring cash, last time I went they were not so into the credit cards) at 1857 Logan Ave.  If this part of the day is of interest, show up about 1:30 because, ya know, lines.  Or just cruise over to Border X Brewing when it opens at 3PM.

Updated 12/31/13

Commensurate with the lax amount of actual “organization” I hadn’t updated the subsequent stops on the #pintsandpols express.  Since our trip to Nate’s, we’ve also been to what was then the new Stone World Bistro & Garden Liberty Station in June, to the South Bay at Labella Pizza, and to Waypoint Public the same date as the very incredible Voice of San Diego #noBSMayor debate in November (nod to Claire Trageser on that last write-up).

If you happen to still be reading, on a personal note I’ve found these little random get togethers fun.  They probably need to stay relatively small to work well, but so far so good. The one common theme of all the places we’ve went is that they are all local independent businesses run by people who care about the community.  Wired writer Quinn Norton mentioned the term ‘do-ocracy’ in this article about Anonymous. If you end up chiming in on a #pintsandpols location, please try to pick a place that actively tries to make San Diego, or the region, better. If curious, my blog (the site you are on) is about this.  Have a good one.

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