If we look at history (which I think is difficult to do since history is not really a tangible thing and therefore can’t really be seen unless you’re a wizard or some sort of Jesus) one thing is obvious: beer and computers have both been around for practically ever, at least in primitive forms. And while they’ve both undergone their fair share of evolution, becoming greatly complex in form, function, and flavor (yes, “flavor” is also applicable to computers – where do you think chips come from?), it’s nice to be able to go back to basics. When times were simpler, tastes were simpler, and sometimes it’s better that way. There is great satisfaction in a product fulfilling the exact role it was created to fulfill. Two specific examples of these blissful basics come to mind: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Microsoft Clip Art.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is one of the forefathers of the modern craft brew boom, and rightly so. Brewers, Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi, started the company in the early 1980s and the brewery has continued to turn out quality beer ever since. The first beer they brewed is now their mainstay, the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. This pale ale, unlike many of its successors, is clean, straightforward, and uncomplicated. While more and more pale ales have some sort of “twist” to them, like chili flavoring, apricot juice, or the ability to change their ethnicities to Indian just by adding hops, Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale has remained faithful to its original recipe. It’s the guppy of pale ales before that guppy grew legs, sprinted out of the primordial soup, and ran around naked and screaming like some weird guppy with legs that could now do all sorts of things. Probably a bad metaphor, but as I mentioned previously, history is hard for me.
You know what else is hard for me? Computers. Regardless, I’m pretty sure I speak for everybody when I say that Clip Art was one of the earliest and greatest contributions to society ever made by a computer. Clip Art images are simple, yet sophisticated, and they always seem to say visually what you could never put into words. To celebrate the pinnacle of Microsoft’s achievements (before it was ruined by that annoying paperclip who always begged to help you write a letter in Word) and to cherish the pairing between it and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, I leave you with the following: