Tuesday, 14 April 2015


…And there are times when I don’t know what words to clink together when it comes to beer (and its accompanying spheres of conflict, comfort and crumbling ideals); and there are times when I don’t know in what way words should follow each other. Should it be a pre-ordained path of understanding? Should there be understanding at all? After all, words come into the world unformed or perhaps uninformed about the path that they should follow — that understanding is the plan of the writer, or is that more the slow camera pan of the words of the writers the writer has read that form themselves into squares, at arms length, Frederick the Great’s giant guardsmen assembling, an understanding of human form. That beer in the glass there, the one that glows on the table, whose colour suggests the sun of the Mediterranean, what should I make of it, how should I approach it? How do you do? What’s your name? Shall we dance? Or should I just engulf myself in it, let it take me over and wait for the next one to pass?

Is it just a liquid in a clear glass, or is it something more amenable when it comes to understanding? The flavour, the aroma, the feel of the liquid on the tongue, the stroke on the throat, the taut line when a fish is caught, what does that mean when the beer is drank. Enjoyment for sure (unless of course it’s a beer whose only lure is a bright, fluorescent light, a clowning glory, a false story that all will be well if only the drinker picks this beer), the swell of the ocean, a mighty movement on the palate, a realisation that here is something that makes you remember why one day, long ago, you chose to add beer to that happy band of companions that shall always be at your side until the day the great ride is done (the deep well of literature, the soaring peaks of music, the deep wine-dark breadths of the sea, the earthly powers of mountains, the companionship of history, the simplicity of friendship and love, the faithful pleasure of the table, the immortality of sport, the instinctive bond with canis lupus familiaris).

And on that day beer, and all the notes that appear on its own chromatic scale coming together in as many different ways as there are days in a life (the people, the places where beer is drank and made, the parade of flavours and aromas, the nothingness with which one grapples with to understand its place in the world), became embedded in my life and yet there are times when I still don’t know what words to clink together when it comes to writing about beer. 

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