It seems that summer’s here again, as the rain briefly drifts away somewhere else for a few precious days. Despite the break in the weather, many people have taken the opportunity to jet away to foreign shores for their annual holidays. By and large, beer fans are real people too – so similarly will head off for a well-deserved break. But do beer geeks travel well? Here are some of the warning signs to look for – if they sound familiar, it might be time to admit that addiction, cancel the trip and ‘staycation’ in the beer cellar…
– There’s nothing that raises the ire of a beer fan than rocking up at an exotic location and finding only Corona on offer. Why, we deserve nothing but the best! Admittedly, not every country has embraced barrel-aging and imperial saisons – but given the choice, a beer geek will go for the local every time. “I didn’t come all this way to drink Miller Genuine Draft, dear. I’ll stick to the Zoinkelpils, thank you.”
– If there’s a brewery nearby, you can bet the beer geek will know about it beforehand. The eyes will have lit up on reading a small part of page 216 of the Lonely Planet, and Google Map duly printed off. Beware the beer fan who suggests ‘going for a short walk’ ‘experiencing the real culture’ or says something like “we did the cathedral yesterday…there was something else I saw in the guidebook.”
– The avid beer fan will definitely want to bring some souvenirs back home. Not locally made lace or unusual-shaped biscuits, but mementos of the liquid variety. This will require lots of shuffling around strangely-smelling supermarkets, peering at obscure labels. It will also mean packing very light for the trip home, taking extra pairs of thick socks, and nervous pacing in the baggage reclaim area. Or, alternatively, you drive ‘to save money’ and return with a car looking like this.
– At the end of the day, the geek will desperately want to like the local beer, but can’t quite bring him/herself to do so. It doesn’t mean they’ll stop drinking it – after all, although they don’t pay as much tax as we do, we all need to support domestic brewing. It doesn’t stop the beer fan secretly hankering for the IPA’s in the cool room back home, however – but this country has a long and proud history of…wait, was that a Belgian beer café we just passed??