This image from the very decent Schneider website captures something about Germany that it would be very hard to explain in words. It’s from their strong beer festival, held in March this year. We’ve never seen a German man rolling drunk: they just seem to smile more; their cheeks get rosier; and they sometimes indulge in very restrained displays of affection (back slapping, hand-shaking).
It reminded me, for no particular reason, of the first time we went to Bamberg, in 2005. We were sitting in a pub drinking Rauchbier and eating something that had been advertised as “meat for two” — an enormous sizzling black pan containing most of a pig, in various forms. A slightly tipsy and very portly businessman in an alpine jacket leaned over to us halfway through our meal and said in heavily accented English:
“So, do you like our German meat?”
He wasn’t offering us a good time — just very, very proud of his country’s pork products, and drunk enough to make conversation with some strangers. Once he was satisfied that we were enjoying our meal, he left us alone.