Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Session: Beer People

What a fantastic topic. It’s no surprise that this month’s session is hosted by Stonch. Of all beer bloggers I think Stonch best gives an insight into the people who drink with him and some sense of the social group that they form.

The guidelines for this session say pick someone you know and paint a portrait. I have certainly met and got to know a lot of people through the world of beer, however I have decided to focus not on the well known brewers, publicans or journalists I have met but on those I drink beer with the most, the boys.

The Boys- the history

When I say The Boys I refer to a reasonably finite group of friends. Most of them I met at school, many of them I have known for over ½ my life. As far as beer drinking goes the core is made up of Dr Mulchin and G with a relatively recent arrival in the form of Pete, Pete hasn’t been around for even a decade yet you see a new comer.
Mulchin, G and my own early, although not first, drinking was done together. It usually involved cans of cheap suspect lager downed in the car parks of under age music venues. Once we left school the beer got marginally better as did the venues for drinking it. By the end of my university days I was home brewing and enthusiastically exploring what different beers the world had to offer, the Dr as he is now but wasn’t then was starting to identify the relationships between the science he was studying and the booze he was downing, while G was drinking everything and rating how socialist it was.

Thursday Night Drinks – an institution

It was during the first dubious days of my homebrewing that the institution of Thursday night drinks began. With a late start on a Friday and a full wallet on a Thursday, we would congregate usually at my flat but sometimes at a bar and catch up with what had been going on with each other thru the week. There would be what we would call sh#t talking which involved good natured ribbing and nonsensical concepts. Sometimes Thursday night drinks would be a low key affair with a few beers and an early end, other times bottles Stroff and Absinth would make an appearance , or pints of imperial stout and the repercussions would be felt for a day to come
It was once I bought my first beer engine and put in the first little bar at my old flat that Thursday Night Drinks finally became tied to drinking beer and not other liquors. Thursday Night Drinks continue to this day, sometimes it’s just the 4 of us, sometimes it’s a full house, it’s always worth doing.

The Tastings

On one Thursday every month we attend the beer tastings that are run by Geoff Griggs at Regional Wines. The tastings attract a varied crowd of regulars, notably the ‘Indian Embassy’ crowd lead by local drinking personality Tosh, White Rino member David and of course our own motley crew. The tastings provide not only the chance to drink some beers we wouldn’t normally be able to but also a chance to catch up people we don’t see through the rest of the month.

The Trips

Several years ago Dr Mulchin, G and myself set off around the South Island for 14 days of debauched beer hunting. The trip had a very specific set of rules laid out. Every pint was counted and the second someone said fancy a pint the rounds system was instigated and would not be ended until we had gone around the world. While I put a hold on all shaving for the duration (nothing new there, hairy and proud, Stonch bring back the beard!!) Dr Mulchin refused to wash and most unbelievably of all G ceased eating, 14 days (15 actually by the time we got home) without anything to sustain him but beer and milk, we always suspected that under the socialist façade he was really a catholic; he got the dates for lent all wrong.
More recently we did a similar but shorter trip with Pete included around the North Island.

I apologise for the rather rambling portrait of a group of people most of you will never know, these are my best friends and sitting down to a pint with them is one of my favourite things, which I think is what life is about.


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Martin said...

Exceptional stuff Kieran. I'm sure this is the spirit of The Session. Which reminds me, I must get on with typing up my own contribution.

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