Hit the Deck

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Beer Festivals | 3 Comments


I last did it during a national anthem. Every beer drinker will have had a similar end result at one time or another – whether they were standing to attention during ‘Flower of Scotland’ or in their local pub, or at a beer festival. Letting it slip. Putting beer on the deck. Dropping your pint. The momentary lapse in concentration or submission to gravity as the glass inexorably plummets towards its floorboard-based demise. Is there anything more embarrassing and annoying that can happen in a single moment to the average beer drinker? The ill-timed fumble to save, the head-turning noise, the flush of the cheeks that necessitates a meek return to the bar.

I think, on balance, that is the worst part. Sure, you lose a beer you just bought – so the flavours of your chosen beverage are only enjoyed by the wood they are now seeping into. And having to buy another puts you out of pocket. But the low point of dropping your pint is having to own up to the barstaff (who undoubtedly all heard it) that you were the moron who couldn’t grip their thumb and fingers together for a few minutes at a time. The guilty toddler look as you accept to roll of blue bar-cleaning paper, or handful of towels. Or worse – being followed back to the scene of the crime by one of them, with a glass-sweeping pooper scooper.

In the pantheon of beer glassware – which as we all know must be exactly matched to each drink you consume, or the entire endeavour is worthless – the glass I would place at the very foot is the classic English nonic. Give me a straight-sided pint every time. Trouble is, the stackable nonics are designed to be easier to hold, and prevent the sudden downward disappearance of your precious. The one I lost during the anthem was a straight-sider – and even worse (in beer geekery) but better (in practicality) a plastic glass.

Pubs are extensions of our living rooms; our homes. We go to feel relaxed and in good company. Nothing gets you on edge more than that very British fear of ‘creating a scene’ – and nothing makes you look a tit in front of company than decorating their shoes with your porter. Maybe that’s why, to me, accidentally nerfing your beer towards a shattering finale is the equivalent of dropping your tray in the school canteen – it leads to the same loss of status that I never had to begin with.

I guess that could be why whenever someone drops a beer in a beer festival, everyone cheers. It’s the same reaction. Groups of men and women transplanted from the cliquery of the school mealtime to the adult cliquery of drinking time. SMASH *CHEER! * – repeat until closing. Nobody tells the crowd, it’s just a deep-seated memory of entrenched humiliation. Only, at least at a beer festival, you can just sidle away and blend into the crowd. Well, unless a reporter tells you to drop your beer to get on the news…

So the next time someone drops a pint? Unless they are doing it for the telly (and definitely unless you have to clear it up) – maybe consider a hug, rather than a braying cheer. After all, chances are it’ll happen to you at some point down the line…


  1. Norrie
    July 27, 2015

    Thanks, Rich.

    I’ll take that as a hug for my misdemeanour at the Stockbridge Tap last week. 🙂

  2. Richard
    July 27, 2015

    It was Archie’s stare from behind the bar that prompted this post, yes 😉

  3. Norrie
    July 27, 2015

    Yes, I left not long after it!

    I still don’t know how it happened, but then again you often never do – even if you’re sober, as I was. 🙁

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