Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Fatal Glass of Beer

I am a man who enjoys beer, and enjoys reading beer blogs, so I thought I’d start my own. I don’t claim to be an expert, just an enthusiastic consumer.

I’ve named the blog after a film I’ve never seen. Well, actually, I have seen it now, since I felt I should if I was going to steal its title. It’s a short comedy starring W.C. Fields.

Some years ago, when I was taking a course on Hollywood comedy at university, I was supposed to see the film in a programme of shorts, but when I arrived at the screening, nobody could get the DVD to work. I began to guess as to the content of  the mysterious film, and suggested to a friend that perhaps it was about the ill-advised pint that can take you from pleasantly refreshed into stumbling, dropping-your-chips-on-your-way-home wooziness. I began to refer to this as ‘the fatal pint’ and was often heard to say things like “I’m not sure whether I should have another; it could be the fatal pint” or even, foolishly,  “I think I’m drinking the pint after the fatal pint.” Of course this behaviour should not celebrated, even if it was fun at the time, but it’s one of the reasons the W.C. Fields title stuck.

There was another fatal glass of beer, though, that is perhaps more relevant to this blog, which I drank a couple of years ago. I’d begun to take something of an interest in beer, developing a fondness for Dark Star’s core range and sampling the occasional American import, when the shop I work at began stocking Mark Dredge’s Craft Beer World. On a slow afternoon at work, I very professionally leant on the counter and got stuck in, dazzled by the variety of beers chronicled, itching to taste them, but finally concluding that I was unlikely to find any of the beers featured in the book. As I headed over to Craft in Brighton to meet a friend, however, I was delighted to see one of the titles I’d read about that afternoon was on the bar. It was Camden Hells. I ordered a pint, and was knocked out by its cleanness, its freshness, its fullness of flavour, and I vowed that another can of Holsten Pils would never touch my lips.

This glass of beer, then, was ‘fatal’ in the sense that it sealed my fate as a beer obsessive. Obsessive is a relative term, of course, and I’m sure I’m an absolute dilettante compared to most beer bloggers. But in my own mind, beer is pretty dominant, something I think about all the time. I am, however, starting to feel a little guilty about boring my girlfriend, friends and family to death rabbiting on about it. So the fatal glass of Camden Hells leads me here. More to come.