Al of Fuggled has revived the Session, the monthly beer blogging jamboree that sputtered to a halt more than a year ago.
He’s asking us to think about our drinking habits in this weird, publess age – are we drinking more? Less? When? And what?
At first, it seemed some version of normality might be possible. The Drapers Arms was open, sort of, selling takeaway beer, and we could still ‘pop in’ to Bottles & Books, our local craft beer shop. (Remember popping into places?)
At the same time, we were also conscious of wanting to do something to show a bit of solidarity with local breweries, so we ordered a couple of cases of cans from Moor. When it arrived, we wondered if we ought to disinfect the boxes, or leave them for a couple of days. We wiped them down, washed our hands, fretted.
Needing little treats to get us through each day, we started drinking on more days of the week. But because beer was a bit of a pain to acquire, we drank less of it overall. One or two six times a week rather than two or three sessions over the course of the weekend.
Eventually, the Drapers closed for good, and Bottles & Books went delivery only, and our Twitter timeline began to fill with tempting offers and pleas: “Support us! Support them! Do your bit!”
We ordered cans from Thornbridge (excellent), more from Moor, more from Thornbridge, more from Moor.
As the situation got more serious, our brains adjusted – great things, brains – and the fight or flight panic passed, and with it the need for daily treats.
The regular dry days returned but the big weekend sessions didn’t.
So, overall, we’re drinking less, but savouring what we drink all the more.
Probably just as well, really, as hangovers and the depressive effects of alcohol aren’t all that helpful when everything else is so bleak.
One little ritual that has emerged, though, is a Sunday night homage to the Drapers: cheddar cheese, pickles, biscuits and ale, face to face over the table with the TV off. It’s mostly fun, mostly a pleasure, but with a bitter aftertaste.