Beer is a little piece of created magic and I love it. I’ve been called geeky and obsessed and that just about sums it up. But you see, the thing is, beer is endlessly fascinating. And I don’t just mean what’s in your glass, it’s everything: the history, the present, the future; the creativity; the social side of it, the people who drink it, the people who make it. Beer means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Here’s what it means to me:
It’s what made me who I am and continues to shape me. Our distant ancestors grew up around the campfire; I grew up around bottles of lager in the park, drinking with mates, learning vital life skills: communication, how to attract a mate, budgeting, control, societal order. A few years later this moved to pints in the pub, still learning the same skills and growing further into who I’d become and into who I’m going to be. That’s when the beer started to change too. It stopped being pale and fizzy and became dark and smooth: the first step towards the love of beer had begun.
I love how beer will fit any situation or mood. When you fall in love with it there’s no way back out again (why would you want to stop loving it?). I’ve had amazing beer and I’ve had awful beer. Sometimes the bad stuff is just as memorable as the good stuff, it’s all about context. I’ve opened beer when I am happy and when I am sad, using it to celebrate and commiserate. I’ve opened it just because. Day or night, hot and cold, beer is always there, and it’s never mad at you, and doesn’t make you clean the apartment. I thank it for that.
Beer is the friendliest drink in the world. Get a group of craft beer-lovers together and you’ll have the best time. You see, people who genuinely love great beer want to talk about it and share it with others who feel the same – it’s an instant friendship-maker. Beer is made to be shared: open it, talk about it and drink it with friends because it’ll taste so much better. That’s important.
It’s also infinitely enjoyable. And whenever I think that it can’t get better, it does. There’s always something else, something that makes me stop and think, ‘wow’. I still get excited when I pour imperial stouts and see that thick, tan head that I could spoon up, or when I open a super-fresh IPA and get an explosion of citrus and tropical fruit, or when that session ale in the pub really hits the spot. Each new beer is a new discovery. A step, in hope, towards finding the perfect beer, the best beer. It normally isn’t, but that doesn’t matter. It’s exciting.
I’ve been writing/blogging about beer at Pencil & Spoon since October 2008 – it’s beer with my Pencil and Spoon, you see. I don’t write many tasting notes because I like to write about different things (if I want tasting notes then I come to RateBeer!). I care more about the other stuff. I’m more interested in the people who are drinking the beer and the people who make the beer; I like to know what inspired the brewer and what feelings the beer transfers to the drinker; I like to think about what beer means, what it is, what it can be. They are the most interesting things about beer for me. That and talking about it over a couple of great pints.
So here we are. This is me. There are some great writers involved in the Hop Press and I’m delighted to be a part of moving RateBeer forward. I’m the writer from England and I’ll be posting something new every Sunday. I’d love for you to comment because that’s what makes blogs come alive – hearing what other people think, sharing a beer and chatting in this virtual pub. Here’s to you. Here’s to us. Here’s to beer!
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