So, a very Happy Valentine’s Day to a love I celebrate as much as I can: beer.
Beer and I go way back. It’s been a subject of photographs I’ve taken since I first started with my amateur photography and expat life, which you can see here. My relationship with beer has now grown, as beer is something I’ve become quite a nerd about, having read many books on beer and even doing my Master’s dissertation on perceptions of real ale in Great Britain.
So when I say, “I love beer,” I mean it. I really do love beer.
I can talk at length about the delicious creamy-sweet notes of the Left Hand Milk Stout above, or the beautiful toasted-smoke tones of a Darkstar Smoked Porter. I can enthuse about the lovely caramel malts that make Brooklyn Lager so special, or tell you about the wonderful taste of chocolate bliss one gets from a grateful gulp of the Heartless Chocolate Stout by RedWillow Brewery.
And there’s more beer out there I have yet to explore and acquaint myself with, as more and more brewers come out and produce finely-crafted ales and lagers to delight the palettes of beer lovers all over the world.
Sure, it hasn’t all been rosy. There’ve been rough patches–going to a bar at a venue only to find beer variants I’m not fond of on offer being a most recent disappointment. But that’s not beer’s fault. In fact, there are many places to find good beer in London, where one can enjoy a good pint or bottle of something special. In my search for good beer, I have stumbled upon magnificent places all over this city who love beer as well as I do (or at least enough to have some good beer on): The Dean Swift near Tower Bridge, The Snooty Fox near Canonbury Station, The Jolly Butchers of Stoke Newington, Jerusalem Tavern of Clerkenwell. There are even more places I haven’t yet been, but my thirst (ha!) for amazing beer will likely take me to areas of London that I have yet to thoroughly explore, and perhaps even beyond the M25 once I get up enough gumption.
So why should you love beer? Well, beer is ace. If you bring beer to most parties, it’s always welcome, unless your host or hostess happens to be gluten-intolerent (if this is you: my sympathies). In its many varieties and styles, beer can always be surprising and exciting when you try something new. Yet there is also a sense of comfort and familiarity when you go into a pub and they have one of your favourites on, or if you go into a bar and see your preferred bottle on the list of what they have on offer, particularly if it’s a new place you’re unfamiliar with.
What’s more, a bottle or pint goes amazingly well with many activities: reading, writing, socialising, board gaming, baking, knitting.
Just not a lot of beer, though, as then your knitting might come out a bit wonky and you might get a little loose with those needles and poke someone’s eye out.
So yeah, beer is just great. Which is why this Valentine’s Day, it gets a place second-to-none in my heart.