It’s been a crazy few months, since I started a career ‘in the industry’ – what I would describe as whirlwind few months, if it didn’t make it sound like a ShowTime mini series. Since the start of November, despite working a small staircase away from one of the largest warehouses of beer in the country, paradoxically I’ve had less time to drink beer than ever. Well, maybe it’s just that my location for drinking has changed – as I’ve been up and down the well-travelled road between Edinburgh and Aberdeen so often. As any regular beer-fond traveller, thanks to the majesty of bottle shops it results in situations where I have the beer, but not the surroundings necessary to fully appreciate it.
But is that really the case?
Sometimes it’s just not possible to reach for the micron-thin tasting tulip and punch the code for the hermetically-sealed tasting chamber. You just have to go with what you’ve got, levering the top off a bottle with a hotel teaspoon and unwrapping one of those strange plastic bathroom glasses. If you’re really lucky, you’ll be somewhere with a bottle opener screwed into the formica underneath the sink – which is something that you don’t see too often. At least this particular hotel seems to encourage bath-based beerage.
Does all this emergency chilling and non-optimal glassware diminish the work of the brewer? After all, they spent hours brewing this particular beer following months (or years) honing the recipe to perfection, only for you to drink from a vessel that formerly housed your toothbrush. Hotel room-based drinking is a means to an end, and if it gives you a chance to at least experience a beer better than the norm, then you should take it. Brewers travel too, of course. They’d understand.
In fact, the vice versa alternative would be much worse. Imagine being in the most perfect beer admiration suite, velvet drinking cape tossed casually over one shoulder, and yet only base cooking lager to hand. What then? Maybe, instead, what cracking open an amazing beer in sub-optimal surrounds does is actually give you more of an appreciation for it. I mean, sure, you’re not fully able to portray it in the best-possible light, but if it tastes good and leaps off the tongue under these conditions, then it must be pretty special, right?
At least, that’s what I keep telling myself, anyway…