Session #63: The Beer Moment
Pete Brown charged the beer blogosphere with this month’s session. We have been asked to write about our beer moments, whatever that is. Mr. Brown left it up for interpretation, but it’s not that easy.
Just as there are many kinds of beers and contexts in which we drink beer, there are many different moments for which one finds a love for beer. To only write about one moment would ignore the many others that make beer so enjoyable. There are moments when the anticipation of a rare beer comes to a head, a discovery or epiphany is reached, or a moment in context with something else, only circumstantially connected to beer. All of these moments are valuable to the beer enthusiast.
So, I’ve opted to describe a few of my favorite beer moments. There are more than I can include in this one post, but I’ll pick a few favorites that keep me coming back to beer, particularly of the craft variety. And since I do the whole beer/music thing here, I may even give a musical metaphor for what I’m describing.
Beer Moment #1: Pshh… A bottle opening is maybe the greatest sound I know. It’s akin to dropping the needle on a record. What’s being released is more than some CO2. That single “pshh” is unleashing the anticipation for what’s inside. Especially when a beer has been bottle conditioned, that sound represents magic. The only thing left is to pour the contents once contained by that now-slightly-mangled cap into your glass.
Beer Moment #2: The smell of whole hops or even those wafting from an IPA or DIPA is all the intoxication most hop-heads need. In that moment when we hover our noses just above the glass, we discover citrus fruits, pine needles, even cat pee (and we like it!). This is the smell that turns most beer drinkers into beer thinkers. Who knew that beer could taste or smell this way? It’s the same as that moment the B3 organ enters a song or the silence is broken with the pounding of drums. It cuts the air, destined to destroy your tongue. Even those who don’t care for hops acknowledge its power.
Beer Moment #3: This is one for the beer hunter. There’s that moment when we enter a store, hoping to find what they’ve come so far to obtain. Sometimes, it’s a Tweet or Facebook post that prompts us to drop everything and run to the store. On several occasions, I’ve hit the store in a narrow window in order to score my Hopslam, CBS, or some other rarity only known to a few of us (or so we think). We nervously cradle our bottles to the check-out, pay, and dash to the store, only to stop once securely in our cars to admire our booty. I feel the same rush when I find a record that has long eluded me only to finally become mine when I least expect it.
Beer Moment #4: Sometimes I go to a rock show expecting almost nothing. It may occur during an unknown opener or while a band I came to see but am not so sure about starts to play.Then, it happens. What they’re playing is good, brilliant even. What have I stumbled upon? Does anyone else know about this? The same goes for that one beer I bought on a whim while on vacation or at the local watering hole. That moment of discovery is hard to top.
Beer Moment #5: While released anticipation, hop bombs, the hunt, and discoveries make beer enthusiasm a fun and worthy hobby, it’s hard to beat the moment when we reach pure satisfaction. I’m talking about the cold Oberan chilling your throat on the first hot day of the spring; the time you drank your beer while floating down the river straight from the can, despite beer snobbish pretensions; the warmth of an unholy imperial stout filling your being with booze and sweetness; or the first beer you’re served at happy hour after a long week of work. These are the times when a beer makes you smile. It satisfies like no other indulgence. It’s perfect for every situation, but especially the one you’re in at that moment the beer touches your lips. For me, this also happens when my favorite band hits their stride playing that song or I barely realize I’ve been driving for an hour until one of my prized albums comes to an end, requiring me to search the iPod for another long-player.
Beer fills many moments, but these are five moments I think of often. It reminds us we have souls and feelings. These are moments we feel alive. One doesn’t have to have a beer to have his/her own moments, but I’ve found that it helps. What is your beer moment? Are any of yours like these? Is there something else to fills these moments for you that isn’t beer?