My Journey by Jamie and his magic hugs
I remember walking into a local beer festival thinking, ‘what am I doing here?’ and ‘what the fuck is a rotary club?’. A sea of flat caps, tankards and barrels of amber nectar hanging from every wall, ceiling and bar. Carrying my checklist and festival guide underarm, I bought my tokens and headed in. There were local ales like Lancaster Black or Jack O’ Lantern, brewed in Liverpool, or if I fancied going international… New Zealand pale ale or Surfing IPA – I was lost…but happy to find my way.
Worryingly, I can’t remember getting home that night, but I can remember all 22 varieties of beverages that I tried…due my trusty checklist. Elsie Mo, Busman’s Holiday, Great White…all delicious and a complete change from what I had grown up drinking. I started to understand why all these seasoned drinkers had left their tartan-clad corner stool in the local pub to meander down to this haven of variety; effectively trading in their pint of mild for a fiesta of taste and enjoyment.
Needless to say, my first beer festival had opened my eyes. Like the first time you venture onto the terraces at a night match; watching on the tele would never be enough. I started to look for ways to get my fix. Local supermarkets filled a gap in my beer hankering before the need for something more; somewhere more ‘specialist’. It was then that I looked for niche shops and online marketplaces where I could get a hit of the good stuff. It became a hobby, a necessity…a conversation between friends, who had also popped their proverbial craft cherry.
Saturday afternoons were never the same. The change from the likes of Carling and Heineken was welcomed. Maybe it was an age thing? Maybe it was a development of my palette wanting more? I found myself wanting to know if it was hoppy, malty, sweet, bitter…even fruity. Speed and frequency used to be my only concern – bring them quick and often…not now.
Many years and hangovers later, I have visited breweries, micropubs, festivals, bought beers online, subscribed to monthly beer deliveries and suffered the after-effects of many a DIPA – both physically and fiscally! Has it stopped me? Not yet.
Long may my journey of drunkenness discovery continue.