What is the beer moment? Good question. For me it’s those things which are not associated with taste, smell and colour, rarity or price, that actually are the heart and soul of drinking beer. It is the reason; the intangible quality of beer that exists because of you and in spite of you, that keeps you drinking pints of beer in the pub long after other drinks have been discovered and newer habits learned. It means that the trends can change, your tastes can change, but the sentiments remain. It is indefinable, but here are a few examples of what I mean.
Getting a round in – a rare and wonderful phenomenon in which people willingly spend their hard earned cash on one another, with no guarantee of reciprocation. This may be when you are 17, getting in the jugs of lager because you look the oldest, or being the unlucky sod that has to leave the ground before the half time whistle to get the beers in at the football. Either way, like Christmas, it is somehow better to give than receive – a moment of community.
Penny in the pint – to this day I will down a pint of beer if someone puts a penny in it. Illogical, for sure, but a part of the sense of loyalty and heritage I feel to my very early drinking days on the school rugby tour. Almost all the other guys were older than me (and better players) but I was instantly accepted after I eagerly joined in with the challenge. This led to several years in which this custom was readily applied on nights out at the local Wetherspoons, a social contract with fellow drinkers which created both a bond of friendship and elevated drunkenness. A wasteful, irresponsible and irreplaceable moment of dread and delight.
A new beer in a new land – no matter what activity I engage in, or how long I am there, a sip of the local beer in a foreign land instantly draws a connection between myself and them unlike any other. A strange Eastern land can become familiar with a bottle of Tiger, and memories of summer holidays in Greece come flooding back with a cold Mythos – a moment of affinity.
What do you want – whether this is a brief discussion with the barman or a bunch of mates looking at a long line of pump clips, a discussion of what you like and desire is a time of deep soul searching and inner contemplation. What do I want? This is an epic question, but broken down into ‘something pale and hoppy’ or ‘rich and malty’ or ‘the usual or something different’, life can be simpler again. It delivers a sense of control and autonomy which silences the mind and soothes the spirit. A moment of clarity.