Sunday, 18 April 2010

How Do You Drink Yours?

I was walking home from my new writing room the other afternoon - and when I say writing room, I mean the public library in Rothwell - having just finished a commission about ordinary brown beer for Off Licence News. True to form, there were various problems with various breweries getting in touch in time to be included in the article. This was, I would guess, a combination of idleness, disorganisation and breweries employing PR companies who don't seem to know anything about the breweries they PR for. But I digress.

Walking back from my new writing room, feeling happy and tired, I thought I might drop into the pub for a pint. Sadly, all the pubs in Rothwell seem to major in John Smiths cask or Tetley's, and ironically, given that I'd just finished an article on ordinary brown beer, I didn't fancy either. In the end, I went to the supermarket, bought a bottle of Bateman's XXXB, and after ten minutes in an ice bucket (hey, you can't take the ponce out of me, even with ordinary brown beer), I sat and had a reflective glass of beer.

I reflected on the fact that I was having a beer in the middle of the afternoon, and how great it is to have a job and a lifestyle that allows this. Drinking beer for me has always been partly about a delineation of time. If I'm having a beer, then that means I've discharged my duties for the day, and I can relax and fritter away a few units of time in a way that I find relaxing and enjoyable. Reflecting more on it, this makes me sound vaguely like an alcoholic, but so be it. I like to work hard, and I like to have a couple of beers. In my world, this is quite normal.

In times past, before being nearly married, and before parenthood, I'd think nothing of going to a pub on my own with a book, or a newspaper, and while away a couple of hours reading, with a few pints and a comfy armchair. Lately, I'm more likely to stake a claim on the sofa, fire up the netbook, and open a beer. Years ago, when I briefly dabbled with smoking, a roll-up would be like a punctuation point in the day. These days, the paragraphs are longer, and the punctuation is beer. Either a new paragraph in the middle of the afternoon, or the end of a chapter mid-evening. As well as loving the tastes, and not objecting to a little mild intoxication, a beer means I'm having a bit of 'me time'. Please don't think that I use beer in order to get 'me time' - that would be a sign of a problem. But conversely, these days I rarely stay in the pub until closing time - in fact, I can't remember the last time I had a night out where the bar stopped serving.

And so, I'm curious - does this ring any bells with anyone? Is there a point where you think 'ahhh, that's that taken care of, I'll have a beer'? Or do people pop to the pub for a couple after work, and then not drink at home? Or do you generally go home and then go to the pub for 'lasties'? (that used to be my favoured mode). As I ask in the title - how do you drink yours?


  1. Zak - both. Beer in pubs in the week (both lunchtime and post-work), as I work in Leeds, and then casual weekend drinking bottled gems at home watching the footie. Variety is the spice of life.

  2. After work, after the gym, on the couch, eating dinner, lout in hand, telly on, and enticing the squeeze upstairs with playful flirtation.

    It's also how I eat a creme egg.

  3. sat here in my place on the settee, with the laptop on my knee reading your post, I couldn't continue with out a beer.
    I do like a beer after work, always did even before working in the trade.
    I've never been really comfortable in a busy loud pub late at night. I'd rather go somewhere like the Dev Cat on a Saturday afternoon with a mate try some beers, chat, eat and get home before it gets to busy, watch a film with me wife and sober up a bit. But that doesn't happen enough anymore so I do my best at home.

  4. Good post this, but I don't think I fit your pattern at all. When I was working, a good few years ago I used to like a couple of pints after work, but I found that I was going every night after work and a couple of pints became three, so I cut it out around ten plus years ago. Then in the next ten years I could count the times when I had a drink after work in the pub or when I got home on the fingers of both hands.

    Now I'm retired, I don't do either, but I do have the option of slipping out for a few when I feel like it when others are at work, sometimes with my retired mates and sometimes with just me.

    So beer doesn't delineate time for me, except on Sundays, when I spend several hours in the pub with my mates. But I don't think that's what you mean.

  5. Leigh - I'm heartened to hear that people still pop out for a pint at munch!

    Cookie - when I was younger, I used to cycle lots, and there was nothing I liked more than stopping off after a long ride and downing a cold beer after a few hours in the saddle. For some reason, I always preferred a cold bottle of lout, purchased from a shop and drunk on the pavement, than a pint of pong.

    Stu - that's sort of the same as me. Parenthood, eh?

    Tandleman - it is what mean. I just thought that we all drink and enjoy beer, but I bet we all consume it in different ways and settings. Given that I think we all agree that setting/environment is important, I was curious how others enjoyed their beer. Maybe not as a strict delineation of time, but as punctuation in our lives.

  6. I should probably add that this post was partly inspired by Adrian's observations on Pub Time

  7. My drinking seems to be a bit more routine. But they're all occasssions ive built around family duties. I always have a pint or two after a bike ride on a Tuesday, always before the match on a Saturday (if im going). Weekends are less routine but i'll usually get a pub visit in somewhere (on way home from work/picking up a takeaway etc...) I get out with friends on a weekend once or twice a month but I can't remember the last time I saw closing time though either.

  8. I only really drink Friday - Sunday. The rest of the week I make an effort not to drink unless there's a specific reason to do so. To me it's a good way to control how much I drink and to prevent myself from consuming too much.

    This week, for example, Field of Dreams is on at Brew Wharf and Abstrakt is being launched, so I'll have a small drink tonight and Thursday. I'd say most weekends I visit a pub but more often than not it's over a lunch time or in the afternoon. I can't remember the last time I left a pub when it was closing.

  9. I missed the glory days of Fleet street boozing, but on magazines in the 1980s and 90s, we would always have a few at lunchtime if we felt we could coast through the afternoon, had done a good job on something, put the news pages to bed whatever. When I was a production editor at a pop mag called No1, come press day me and my assistant who had been there since 7.30am would be hectored into the boozer by the editor at 1pm and made to drink at least five pints — it made proof reading the BBC charts in the afternoon rather interesting. Then there were the cans brought into the subs room by the deputy ed at the NME about 5pm as we tried to finish laying out the news pages in time to get to the typesetters — they marked a definite time of the day. Now it’s I fancy a pint o’clock.

  10. J. Alfred Prufrock's "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons", is one of the sadder lines in English poetry.

  11. mybrewerytap - see, you're a proper dad - I hope to be where you are in about five years.

    chunk - I wonder if beer enthusiasts are more prone to drinking when pubs are quieter, so we can put the pubs to their proper use rather than that ghastly socialising

    Adrian - that's a beautiful image, and I'm going to try and claim intellectual copyright on it, on the basis that my blog post sparked off your reminiscence

    William - would it be more or less mournful if he'd measured out his life in Starbucks Frozen ChocoMochaCinos? More, I think.

  12. My worst drinking habit is the through the night stuff. The beers that help you finish your dissertation, or keep you sane as you pull an all-night after work to finish an extra-curricular assignment. A necessary evil, and inspiration when all hope was gone.


Sorry about the word verification - the blog was getting spammed to bits.