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FFFT Podcast Ep. 2: Evan Meffert – Brewing (and Drinking) Craft Beer, How to Put Philosophy into Practice, and Untangling Postmodernism

In which my brother and I tumble down the rabbit hole of the perennial relation between good beer and good philosophy—and get sidetracked by postmodernism.

Reality, unreality. Beer and postmodernism.

My brother Evan Meffert and I have been having mind-bending conversations about religion, politics, art and meaning since we were in our teens. And this one is no exception.

Evan spent eight years as an operational engineer at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and moved to Berlin in October to participate in the graduate-level Certified Brewmaster Course at VLB Berlin. VLB Berlin is an international organization that provides research, training, education and service for the brewing industry.

Evan is also a blogger, avid mountain biker and passionate student of philosophy and political science. You can follow his adventures in Berlin and beyond at tmeffert on Instagram or check out his blog at evanmeffert.wordpress.com.

Over the course of our hour together, Evan and I got into the origins of his love of brewing, his favorite philosophers, postmodernism, weird art trends and quite a bit more—beer and philosophy being inextricably linked throughout the ages.

You can listen to the episode below, or at the links provided. Cheers!

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Topics covered in this conversation

  • Being a first generation immigrant
  • American vs. German attitudes about alcohol and drinking
  • Getting started in home-brewing
  • The early years of the craft brewing movement
  • Losing focus to gain focus (studying philosophy to become an engineer)
  • Evan’s favorite philosophers, political scientists and economists
  • German and European intellectual traditions—Kant, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Wagner
  • The lofty philosophical underpinnings of Nazi ideology
  • Kirkegaard and the necessity of letting go of what is most precious
  • The intersection of philosophy and real life
  • Inductive vs. deductive reasoning
  • Why it’s important to have opinions and to fully think things through
  • Defining postmodernism and moral relativism
  • That empty feeling you get when you leave a contemporary art museum
  • Evan’s work at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Constant self-reinvention revisited
  • The Certified Brewmaster Course at VLB Berlin
  • Evan’s story of a contemporary artist’s descent through the 9 circles of postmodernism
  • The practicality of true creativity
  • The impact of postmodernism on modern society: power games and the true nature of language
  • Being a good person—but what is good?
  • What real diversity is and how to build a culture of tolerance
  • The value of a liberal arts education in combating ideological possession

People, resources and links from this episode