This months Session (no. 63) as posed by uber-beer blogger and writer Pete Brown is called The Beer Moment. Here is mine.
I grew up in a semi rural/suburban town in Buckinghamshire, just outside London (that’s UK not Ontario!) and my parents, especially my father, often went to the local pub and enjoyed cask bitters from the likes of Fuller’s and Bass. One such pub was a haven for families in the summer. Warm Sunday afternoons were spent in the expansive beer garden where kids could run, roam and play in relative safety, while the mums and dads could chat and no doubt exchange tales about their offspring, schools, housing prices and lousy bosses. It was here that my Dad gave me a bitter shandy, so that I may start on the journey to develop a taste for a drink like no pop or orange squash that I had ever had.
My best friend was (and still is) 3 years older than me, and his dad had been giving him not only shandys but actual half pints of an ordinary bitter for a while, and I was always playing catch up. (He hit forty last year and for once, I was not jealous of his three years of seniority!) This was, I guess, my first beer moment, but not The Beer Moment.
After difficult teenage years in a military boarding school, and hating my parents for it, I left for university. It was some time in my second year and after much drinking of beers good, bad and downright awful, I no longer hated my parents, and no longer felt I had a childish point to prove. I had wanted to be a grown-up and not an angry teenager any more. On a visit home, my mum was toiling in the kitchen, cooking food I would now walk across hot coals for, while I suggested that my Dad and I should head to the pub for a quick pint before supper. My mum gave a look, that said she knew she would be putting our food in the oven to keep warm, while we sat and drank with no regard for punctuality or good home-cooked food. She had obviously been there before!
We walked less than stumbling distance to a small but atmospheric and traditional village pub. My dad seemed to know various people when he walked in, including the landlord, giving an air of comfortable familiarity; and then my Beer Moment happened.
It was the first time I bought my dad a drink.
A cask conditioned Fuller`s London Pride arrived in each hand. We both enjoyed this classic bitter, but most of all we enjoyed each others company as adults and friends – for the first time.
Beer has always been a leveller, whether between social classes, nationalities, and even between generations – especially between fathers and their sons.
Cheers Dad – here`s to many more!