The Session

The Session #76: Compulsion

Alfred Hitchcock's Compulsion.

This edition of the Session is hosted by Glen at Beer Is Your Friendn, and is about ‘compulsion’.

In the early days of taking an interest in beer, we wanted to get from being know-nothings to know-somethings (shut it, hecklers!) as quickly as possible, and we had a lot of fun getting there. Completing sets (e.g. all the breweries in Würzburg; every beer Fuller’s make) gave it some structure but, really, it was just about consuming knowledge. (Knowledge, that is, dissolved in a tasty, intoxicating liquid.)

Nowadays, though we’ll still take a slight detour or miss a bus to reach a brewery or pub we’re interested in, we no longer plan holidays around beer. There are some breweries whose beers we’d love to try, but we can’t quite be bothered to go out of our way to find them, or to pay over the odds. If it happens, it happens. No compulsion there — more like inertia.

The book has, however, which has seen us dwelling mentally in the seventies, eighties and nineties, has prompted a few new strange urges. We can’t resist trying pre-CAMRA beers such as kegged Ansell’s Mild when we come across them, even though we know they’ll probably be terrible; and, though we’re buying fewer expensive bottled beers these days, we’ve begun to accumulate old beer mats, as small, tangible pieces of the past.

For related reasons, there is one thing we simply cannot resist, and never have been able to, and that’s beer glasses. Why do we need two Courage keg bitter mugs? We don’t. They’re not nice to drink out of; we never experienced Courage Tankard Tavern; and we’ll only have to get rid of them when we move house. But, if we see a third, we’ll buy that too.