The Session

Session #142: Funeral Beer


This is our contribution to the final edition of the Session hosted by Stan Hieronymus: “Pick a beer for the end of a life, an end of a meal, an end of a day, an end of a relationship. So happy or sad, or something between. Write about the beer. Write about the aroma, the flavor, and write about what you feel when it is gone.”

Funeral beer is whatever beer they have on at the pub near the crematorium, or the social club in town.

That usually means big brand lager or smoothflow bitter. Auntie Joan on the sherry, let’s raise a whisky in memory, it’s what they would have wanted.

Or Guinness.

And, let’s face it, Guinness fits a funeral best of all, permanently dressed in that old black suit.

It feels as if Ireland owns funeral drinking in some sense born of stereotypes and heavy literature, so even if you aren’t even slightly Irish on your mother’s side, Guinness fits.

It is dark, slow, bitter.

And these days, a little sad, too.

A monochrome beer for a monochrome mood, sitting on your stomach like a raincloud.

2 replies on “Session #142: Funeral Beer”

The nearest hotel to Stockport Cemetery and Crematorium where I’ve been to quite a few funerals used to have draught Murphy’s which I always enjoyed, but now just has cans of Guinness along with the usual keg beers. There are a couple of Robinsons pubs in the centre of town which cater for wakes too. If you go to Manchester Southern Cemetery and Crematorium, there are quite a few places along the Wilmslow Road corridor through Withington and Didsbury which also do and have decent cask beer. At the last funeral I went to a few weeks ago, we ended up in a social club in Stockport which had one of the best, and cheapest, pints of Holt’s Bitter I’ve drunk for a while.

My dad was on committee of his social club and had wittered on at length to me about his achievement of getting copper dragon on the bar . We managed to get cask of best on for the wake , we paid club what they did for the cask and had it on free. Bloody shame he didn’t live longer :ilkley brewery opened half mile from his house a week or two after he died. For months after it felt like every bar i entered had copper dragon best or golden pippin on (usually I was getting either first or last pint from a barrel, concluded my old man’s ghost had nothing better to do ) copper dragon had bit of a convoluted history since then and rather stood still for the last decade whilst other brewers developed their art .

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