If you were to peruse my socials, you would see that I have a deep love of India Pale Ales. I’ve lost count of the number of tasty hop-laden creations that I have been fortunate enough to try, and to subsequently post to Instagram. I follow breweries, pubs, craft beer companies and fellow craft beer aficionados. Whilst scrolling, if I discover that there’s a new IPA has recently been born into the world, I try my best to get it into my hot little hands, followed by my thirsty open mouth, as soon as I can. I’ll share my take on it with other beer lovers online. It’s fun to be part of the virtual beer swilling community.
The other night, however, preparing to upload a photo of a can of Hop Nation’s The Dawn Double NEIPA to Instagram, I was trying to make its condensation look extra condensation-ey for my millions of followers, most of whom are bots. One of the comments once posted was something along the lines of, “Oh Celia, you are always drinking tasty IPAs, I wish I was you. PS: Your cat is really handsome!” This comment got me thinking.
Ahem, cough cough.
Hi, everyone, thanks for coming. Can we get our glasses filled? Don’t take a drink just yet…yes, yes, I know how hard that can be.
I’d just like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to a dear friend. They are a constant in not only my life, but I’m sure in others too. They are someone to rely on in the good times and in the bad.
That’s right, you guessed it, I’m talking about my mate and yours, it’s The First Sip!!
(Pause for applause.)
Our mate The First Sip is one I know I can count on to act like a goose.
(Pause and do the sly face.)
They attempt to distract me on a Friday afternoon around 2:41 pm with their plans of after work drinks, through our mutual friend’s group chat that’s full of their jokes and TGIF memes. As always, it’s great to see them at the bar. Last week The First Sip greeted me through a glistening pint of Goose Island IPA that was only $9 during the happy hour that brilliantly lasted for longer than an actual hour!
(Pause for applause.)
Cough, cough. Ahem.
Our mate The First Sip though, is also there when times get tough. Just like you’d expect a great mate to do.
As I meander through the streets, singing along to John Farnham via my headphones, patting dogs, looking in butcher shop windows, wondering if anyone buys those hula hoops outside the two-dollar shop, my legs often take me to an establishment that contains a bar pouring a healthy dose of crafty beers. I spend some time here, giving the taps a good workout.
The other day, something compelled me to walk in the opposite direction to the watering holes and I found myself ascending the stairs into a place I’ve often heard mentioned, but never really knew what went on inside its walls. You know, that place called the “gymnasium”.
I looked around, there was more than one bar and not the beer drinking kind. There was a hall with weights and yoga mats instead of Bavarian beer tables and steins, and John Farnham was replaced by Katy Perry “songs”. How did I get here?
Your birthday. Christmas. A mate’s farewell before heading off to the UK to find their future life partner in an Edinburgh pub. All very valid reasons for consuming a few beers with fellow humans.
Sharing beers with mates has proven health benefits. Sharing your worries, your funny stories and your hopes and dreams with a friend over a cold glass of Stomping Ground makes life good. It enhances positive emotions and strengthens bonds of friendship. There’s even studies about it! BFFs J. R. R. Tolkien and Lewis Carroll shared their latest literary masterpieces with each other over an ale in an Oxford pub. I personally have come up with great ideas with cronies whilst sharing a beer or two, including FeBURNary, a charity where participants can grow sideburns in aid of people who lose their homes in bushfires, and a podcast about the art of sighing – the different types and the reasons for sighing. PLEASE DON’T STEAL THESE IDEAS.
The humble beer garden becomes holy when that sweet summer sunshine breaks. You kick back with your sunnies on, feet bare and that frosty Stone & Wood Pacific Ale glistening in the sun just like your pearly whites. It’s summer and you’re in a beer garden and you have a beer in your hand. Life cannot get any better. At that moment, your mortgage doesn’t need repaying and it doesn’t matter that you still don’t have your driver’s license at age 34. Finding out what that weird rash on your arm is can wait until March. You are in beer garden nirvana.
The sometimes-factual information bible Wikipedia helpfully states “Australia has many beer gardens, typically as part of a pub, or often next to sports fields.” Helpful, Wikipedia, helpful. We are blessed with an abundance of beer gardens, and their sexy cousins the rooftop bar. Many are hidden away, in places you’d least suspect.
So how do you choose just one?
To My Dearest Craft Beer Specialty Bottle Shop,
It's time I told you how I feel.
I have to admit that when I first moved into the area I was a bit intimidated by how attractive you were with the beer loving folk. How would I ever get you to notice me? Your boasts of 600 beers loomed over the door on my first visit. How would I ever choose just one? You were wayyy out of my league.
Despite my hesitation, you were so friendly from the start. You’ve been that way ever since! I may walk in feeling dejected after a crummy day at work but you always know the right things to say:
"The new one from Garage Project's just come in, wanna try?"
We have reached the midst of winter when it is socially acceptable to cower in dark snug pubs, or lounge about on the couch with a beer in hand and the cat at your feet. But whilst it may be cold, just like in summer, autumn and even spring, it's important to heed that well-known piece of advice:
"Stay off your internet, phone and your socials after you've had a few drinks, it will only end in tears!!!"
Or words to that effect!
It’s hard, I know.
There was the time I accidentally "liked" an ex-boyfriend’s current wife's mum's photo of her garden.
Once I was online shopping to buy a couple of t-shirts with cool designs on them but when I opened the delivery I discovered that they were baby clothes.
There was also an incident whereby I uploaded an Instagram photo of my darling cat with X-Pro II filter and added the hashtags #pussy and #xxx. Some "interesting" profiles started following me.
We've got one of those couches from Freedom, I don't know, are they called "Modular"? Anyhow, they're the ones that people can perch on the arm kind of awkwardly pretending like they're comfortable; cats can stretch out and survey their apartment manor. My cat does anyway.
The other day I was about to put my beer glass (full of Mornington Peninsula's delightful Nitro Dogs Bollocks) down on said arm, when I saw a gross pattern of beer glass-soaked stains.
"Sheesh! Where are my coasters? Why aren't we using coasters on our precious Modular couch?!" I opened the cupboard, the cupboard where I keep my collection of coasters. Coasters fell out. Many, many, many coasters. Little Creatures. Corona. Mountain Goat. Blackhearts & Sparrows. BeerDeluxe. It was like that clown car where all those clowns you know can't possibly fit in that small tiny space somehow fit and spill out when the door opens.