The Joy of Beer

Illustration: pint emerging from psychedelic clouds.

Beer should bring you joy.

All kinds of beer can do this – bog stan­dard lager, straight­for­ward bit­ter, flow­ery IPAs, impe­r­i­al stout, any­thing.

And all kinds of beer can do just the oppo­site.

It all depends on you, your taste, and the moment.

It’s the dif­fer­ence between a great pint of cask ale and one that, though you’d strug­gle to pin down the dif­fer­ence in con­crete terms, is an utter chore.

A joy­ful beer hits the spot. Either it doesn’t touch the sides, or it makes you linger for an hour, savour­ing every sip. Even if only for half a sec­ond before you get back to the con­ver­sa­tion, it demands your atten­tion.

It ought to be between you and the beer, this moment of joy, but you might say to your drink­ing com­pan­ions that it’s bob on, cock on, bang on, or per­haps if you’re feel­ing espe­cial­ly expres­sive not too bad at all actu­al­ly. Or you might just sigh, “Aah.”

A beer that is a joy will make you want the same again. The prob­lem is, it’s elu­sive, that first-drink-of-the-ses­sion jolt. Returns dimin­ish.

The most reli­able route to joy­ful beer is to stick to beers, brew­eries and pubs you trust. But there’s a joy in explor­ing, too, and the joy you feel on find­ing a good beer after three duds is among the most potent strains.

Joy needn’t mean fire­works. There’s joy in a nice mug of tea or clean bed­sheets and beer ought to be the same kind of every­day, attain­able plea­sure.

3 thoughts on “The Joy of Beer”

  1. I’d like to say to that you took the words out of my mouth. Sad­ly, I’d nev­er man­age to get them in the right order so it’s a good job you’re around to do a prop­er job. This piece so exact­ly sums up how I feel that I would hug you if you were in the room. Lucky escape all round.

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