If there's one thing we believe around these parts, it's that just about everyone can come together over a beer. This year, we've interviewed people from the world of music, entertainment, food, and even politics, and about nearly every topic you could imagine, from tattooing Ariana Grande to, uh, eating possum. (More on that below.) A mixed bag, to be sure—but the one constant is beer. That's the whole premise of our "Having a Beer with" series: To get a little highbrow for a minute, sharing a beer with someone flattens many of our differences. (After all, "who would you rather have a beer with?" is a common polling question during election cycles.) As some of our sober interviewees can attest, booze isn't necessarily part of the equation—it's just the act of sharing a common experience that makes this magic happen.
Here are some of the best quotes from our favorite interviews this year.
"I think the rise of women tattoo artists has been able to make people feel welcome when they come in, which if you want me to tie this all together, is like beer. Beer and tattooing are all about creating opportunities for intimate conversations." —Mira Mariah, celebrity tattoo artist and Wicked Weed collaborator
"Go to Asia and eat at the night markets and all the fucking Asian restaurants all across the entire continent. There aren’t four million people drinking Riesling. They are drinking beer.” —chef Edward Lee
"We need to be serious about empowering young people to seek to represent our communities and be involved in politics. Because we live in a hyper-capitalistic society, most of the people in power—it isn’t just that they’re older, it’s that they've accumulated wealth, they are able to take time off to run for office, they’ve traded favors. All of these things don’t make you more qualified. I’m determined to represent everyone, and I think that anybody should have the opportunity to run." —Julia Salazar, Democratic Socialist and New York State Senator
"Humans taste like possum, I mean, which is something that most people eat all the time. At least, I do." —GWAR, just being GWAR
"I never really liked beer—it’s only in this creative explosion that’s happened over the last 15 years or so that I found it interesting. I don’t just drink beer for fun. Like music, it plays to such particular desires and tastes. There are musicians who I know and love. I can’t have a beer with them because they don’t care about the beers I’m interested and I don’t care about what they are interested in." —Will Oldham, a.k.a. Bonnie "Prince" Billy
"I feel sometimes very tokenized as an Asian-American woman in a very white-male dominated field, and it's kind of like a wink to that, because I felt that everyone just sees me as this, but they don’t see what I would actually just be doing in Philadelphia, like getting drunk with my friends and being insane. So yeah, I wanted to take that kind of stereotype and flip it." —Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast
"People go, 'I come to art to escape what’s happening in the world, I don’t want to come to a show and then be submerged in politics again.' I can see the point, and it’s a valid one, but at the same time, this is my art, this is my audience, and I’ll do whatever the fuck I want with the platform I’ve earned. No one has to come to my shows." —Frank Turner
"I don't see innovative, small, thoughtful, brilliant craft beer on a tiny level going away anytime soon. It's only getting bigger." —Kelcey Ayer, vocalist and keyboardist of Local Natives