Monday, March 22, 2010

A Red and Silver Evidence Bomb

That's how Hunter S Thompson describes a warm, open can of Budweiser clutched in Raoul Duke's hand as a cop car pulls him over in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In Zappa's "Titties 'n' Beer" he sings "Just drink a little beer, I said, gimme summa that what yer suckin on..." And of course, there's the best of them all:

rivers and seas of beer
the radio singing love songs
as the phone remains silent
and the walls stand
straight up and down
and beer is all there is.

The point, I suppose, is that there's a beauty about beer. Or at least in people's bittersweet relationship with it.

I've always been a fairly dedicated drinker. In Britain it is deemed sociable, but I move to Canada and it turns out it's a disease. I've worked in several supermarkets and liquor stores (UK: "Off-Licenses"). This has given me the chance to read a lot of labels and fall for the idea that beer is more than just a way to fill moments between conversations in a pub. Great, I thought, I can pass this dependence off as a hobby.

This year, working in a good beer shop in Victoria, BC, I had a chance to meet one or two brewers, drink some unusual and gorgeous beers, and ended up getting into "craft" beer. I found out what a great beer scene we have in the pacific northwest, and began trying some incredible American and European stuff.

Since then I've met people who write with such enthusiasm about this liquid that it stirred my writing pretensions from a lazy hibernation. I've been writing reviews and forum-blathering on BeerAdvocate for months now, but I decided a blog might suit me better.

Of course, all the best poetry about beer has already been written. And I might lose interest in two weeks, and this blog will fester on some server. Until then, these are just my thoughts. And it is just a drink, let's not forget. Not much. Small beer.


  1. My first taste of beer was at a young age, perhaps age 7 or 8. It was a bitter, watered down, slightly bubbly inferior confection dubbed Budweiser. Traumatized by the experience, I didn't consume my next beer, probably a Corona, until Sophomore year of college. Sadly, most Americans live their lives fully unaware of what powerful subtleties a true beer can unleash upon their palates. I will not be a proud American until the public stops drinking Tecate, Keystone Light, Bud Light, Miller, and all other such near beers out there. Hopefully, some American will read this blog and be inspired to appreciate a proper beer.

  2. I think my first beer was probably a can of Webster's Bitter or maybe a supermarket brand when I was a kid. We'd get shandy (beer plus lemonade) as kids, and an eggcup full of wine for Sunday dinner.

    I remember, even as an 11 year old, on a roasting day at school, wishing that I had a shandy to drink. Far preferable to a Panda Pop cherryade.

    I drank purely Stella, Guinness and Heineken (when it was 3.2%) for about eight years from school through undergrad. If I was flush I'd buy a Budvar or Tiger beer and claim it was gorgeous while secretly not noticing the difference...

  3. Ah yes, oh do I remember the days of drinking a Corona and feel like I was the one who had great tastes and the peons around me gripping their bud light's had no idea the shit they were drinking. Bud light remains crap, but you can add Corona to the list as well. A good Red Ale or Pale Ale from a small brewer can easily replace these fizzy yellow beers and you can actually enjoy the taste of the beer instead of forcing it down!

  4. First beer experience was chugging a fridge keg of coors...which didn't really turn me off the concept of beer surprisingly enough. Like the blog so far dan.

  5. I was poured half a pint of my dad's home brew by my brother when I was 9 or 10. My dad caught sight and snatched it off me halfway in warning me that it was 'neat' beer and could kill me.

    I thought it tasted rank. But it was my Dad's home brew, so I was probably right in that.

  6. My Uncle Dave made homebrew in his bath. I couldn't even go in there to piss it smelled so bad.

  7. Im pretty sure my first experience was the sickening flavor of Molson Canadian, and it turned me off of beer for quite some time. I vaguely remember drinking a beer once at a party when I was already to hammered to even taste it anymore.

    It was an acquired taste for me.

    I suppose I didn't start drinking beer until I was 19, and working in restaurants. At the end of a busy weekend shift, the managers would send the kitchen a big frosty pitcher of beer as a thank you for a job well done. I would throw it back to fit in with the gang, and to show my gratitude. It wasn't long before I was looking forward to the end of my shifts for that refreshing glass of cold bubbles.

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