I can remember the first beer I ever drank.
It was a wam can of Heineken, and I was in a park with guys from school. Being the oldest-looking of the group, it fell to me to front up to the man in the shop, and exchange a handful of cash for a couple of six-packs. The others gave me plenty of advice; Don’t look worried. Don’t make eye-contact. Don’t say much. Don’t get Heineken.
Armed with that, I marched into the bottle-shop and bought… Heineken. It was only after picking it up, that I realised. And by then, it felt that to change my mind would only draw attention to myself. And anyway, if they wanted to be fussy, they could bloody well buy it themselves!
I don’t remember much about the beer, except that the adrenaline rush of breaking the law made it taste like the nectar of the gods. And, it was the start of a love affair. Although I didn’t realise it at the time.
I can remember the last beer I drank.
It was a lightly chilled bottle of Sticke Alt, brewed by the guys at Red Hill Brewery. And, I wasn’t in a park. Not only can I remember exactly how it tasted, but also how it smelt, how it felt in my mouth, and what it made me think of. [for the record: bitter-sweet caramel/ marmite and roasting chestnuts/ a pleasing tingle on my tongue after swallowing/ roast beef and horseradish]. The adrenaline rush wasn’t there, but there was contentedness and a huge respect for craftsmanship and the love with which the beer had been created. And, there is no doubt which feeling I prefer – I guess I’m getting old!
I’ve come a long way since that first illicit Heineken. And I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a beer-blog for a while. But what would I write? And more importantly, who would bother to read it?
What would I write? Well, I’m not a brewer so I can’t write really about brewing. And I’m not a critic, so I’m not really qualified to be critical. But I do love beer. Not in a how-much-can-I-put-away-before-I-fall-down way, well not any more. I love beer for the way it makes me feel, the way it looks in a glass, for the flavour, the aroma, the memories and thoughts it envokes. I marvel at the imagination and skill of the brewer, and the countless ways that four core ingredients can be made to taste. Just as Monet and Picasso had the same piece of paper and box of crayons.
The craft beer community is warm and inclusive. Since I’ve started really thinking about beer, I’ve made some new friends, and learnt something new from every beer that I tried. Craft beer is a conversation, and I want to be part of it. I’ve still got so much to learn; how to adequately describe the beer, how to identify the malt profile, about the characteristics of different hops, about the myriad of different styles. So that’s what I’m going to write about; my adventures with beer!
Who would read it? Maybe nobody, but I’ll enjoy writing it anyway. Cheers!