As the brewer intended…

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in Editorial | One Comment


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…

1 Comment

  1. Dave
    March 2, 2015

    Beer is altered in much more inventive ways than you sitting in your pants in a Holiday Inn sipping from a plastic tumbler, or God forbid the bottle itself! (sarcasm)

    Years of honing and months of work are often changed into hot festive bevridges, or tarted up cocktails, some straying excruciatingly close to a shandy. I feel most brewers would find your slight hints of Collgate extra white being stripped from your bog glass more in line with what the beer was intended to be than say, it being turned into a marshmallow and cinnamon hot chocolate.

    Mostly I don’t think the vast majority of brewers mind what, where or how you drink their beer, as long as hopefully you’re enjoying it.

    Beer is a great thing that shouldn’t be put on some kind of imaginary pedestal. If you were to have a big imperial stout, one with all the bells on, say the bugger has been barrel aged in Odin’s hand bag. Would you rather have it in a dimly lit room sitting at a slightly chilly 18c, no music, no friends around, no bright colours or mobile phones to log onto your beer rating thing, no rich food or coffee for 24 hours previously, no smoking for 3 months before that but… You have got the perfect glass and surroundings for tasting this beer! Or would you rather be sitting in your front room with your pals, bit of Frank Zappa on the wireless, maybe there is a bowl of chocolate eggs on the table to dip into as a half time snack but unfortunately, somebody forgot to pick up the stemmed snifter glasses so you have resorted do the dreaded back up pint glasses (insert screams of anguish here as all those precious volatiles are released without being intrevensly directed straight into your brain).

    I feel like I was going somewhere with this? Oh Yeh, drink beer however you want from whatever you want. Nice people make beer because they want everyone to have a ruddy nice time.

    Lots of love, from Brewers.

Leave a Reply