Saturday, May 19, 2012

GBW Day 7: 'Know it all' Stage of Drinking

We have all seen it. In others at the pub and even in ourselves. That point in a session where people get opinionated and think they know it all, and if we just sit down like this with a few beers, we can solve all the world's problems. I guess it is really a sign we are nearly at the end of our tether and things are about to start going downhill pretty quick. I guess over the past couple of days of GBW, a philosophical theme has crept into my mind, so going to use the latter stages of this week of good beer to delve into that a little. Now someone get me a beer, then sit down, shut up and listen to me...youse might learn sumfing eh?!

Last week, I learnt the tolerance of a fermenter under negative pressure. Looking at life we have tolerances that we can take as human beings (heat/cold, physical/mental pressure/strain, chemicals, etc), and even tolerances of what we are looking for in life (does your job satisfy you enough, what qualities are important to you in people you befriend/date/marry/etc, are you stable enough to buy a house, have kids, be a rockstar [and not wreck your life], etc...yes, you can tell this is being written by a man in is early 30's). You look at the many different ways people look at these things, and the many other questions/senarios oustide of the limited scope above that people relate their lives to, and you realise the diversity of life, and the need for tolerance.
As humans we have the ability for communication, empathy, and knowing that we know gives us a conscious ability to relate, find differences and commonalities, that build up the connection/appreciation we have with anything we can sense around us and in us. Ok, so now I have brought it to that lofty height, let me smash it by bringing it back to beer. As I have written previously, the diversity of beer is something that astounds me nearly as much as the diversity life shows us. As humans we can relate the the 'life' in beer (yeast) and its own tolerances to survive and produce alcohol. I guess one part we can find similarity in beer is being able to say it has 4 main ingredients, a very common ground to work off, but still an amazing premise to hold onto when you try so many different beers, and find it hard sometimes to think they still have somewhat similar ingredients in them. I see that the tolerance I am thinking about now relates to the 'robustness' I spoke about then, and that while life can be such a fragile thing in an individual, it has still continue somehow as a collective. We need to embrace the tolerance that comes from the collective. I know for me, I have a style of beer I enjoy most (malt based) and a style of beer I like least (hops based...working off the four basic ingredients of beer), but it does not stop me looking for my most favourite IPA (Moylans Hopsickle), English Bitter (Holgate ESB), etc, and finding my least favourite malt based beers (Invalid Stout, etc).

I guess I want to bring up now is something I found on another blog. Firstly, the topic found traction in me enough to reply to James with my own thoughts, and secondly, by replying it created a small conversation inside the larger conversation happening in the 'Session'. As I said above, our ability to communicate allows us to see the differences and similarities, and think Pete Brown did a great job at finding both of these from all the responses he was given on his topic in beer. For me then, the conversation of beer James and I touched on in our own thoughts is really what has stuck in my mind from this, that we are always trying to find new styles/tastes (looking for difference) and perfect current styles/tastes (look at similarities), and then of course we can find both. Building up an openness to beer has started giving me a higher tolerance and broader conversation I can have with beer (I hope) and I hope this is part of the appreciation we can all have with beer...and maybe even life in general. Whatever beer you have been trying over Good Beer Week, you can't go wrong with an open mind, a respectful but honest opinion, and maybe just for me, a dulled palate to help you deal with the extremes of tolerance beer can have in it. Maybe that is the point I am trying to make in all this...I am not sure. All I know is my conversation with beer is not over, even after a long week of drinking every day, and this is just trying to make sense of that conversation, and maybe look forward to being silent with it a bit more after this. What do you think I am talking about, and what are your thoughts from the random musings I have thrown up here?



PS: Geez, lucky I had that to talk about, as Day 7 was pretty slow for me in GBW. Lots of people hung over at Goat after the beer awards the night before, catching up with my bro over a parma at the Royston for lunch (Emerson's Bookbinder Bitter is a good english style, and the Epic Armageddon [unfiltered] was of course too much for my hop weak palate), trying a Henry Young Hop Ale (sort of between a Hargreaves ESB and Holgate ESB, not bad), getting one more hit of the Abbey Collaby before it started getting busy at Goat, then leaving to drink wine (would you have preferred I just say I didn't drink at all) with my bro and sister-in-law at a wine bar in town and over pizza at Ladro. I at least made sure I ended the night on beer with a 2 minute visit at the Pinnacle to see a casual Goater who owes me beers, and tried knocking back a Tuatara beer they had on tap (phoar...hops much!) as I dashed out to door to catch my tram. Would have loved to of gone back to Rainbow with Mick to try the Thirsty Crow Vanilla Milk Stout, but again, falling asleep on trams stopped me pursuing this option.

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