Friday, May 4, 2012

The Beer Moment (The Session no.63)

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, which was started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin’s archive page.

This month's Session is hosted by UK Beer Writer, Pete Brown. His chosen topic: the beer moment.

I was all ready and excited to join The Session for the first time this month because I love the concept and Pete's topic. Then...I forgot about it. The whirlwind stress of work life swept me away again. So, this post may lack the thoughtful consideration and communication I had hoped to offer when sharing interesting thoughts on the beer moment. Nevertheless, I've still jumped on-board and below is my rushed first contribution to this international beer writing endeavour...

The beer moment is peaceful, the beer moment is attentive, the beer moment is friendly.

Most of all, the beer moment is conversation on common ground.

The beer moment is quiet, calm, peaceful. At least, in your head it is. It's a moment of pure enjoyment where the noise (physical and psychological) of the surrounding world pales into insignificance. The peace does not always last long, but it is enough to install a strong longing for the day's first beer to capture the relief it will provide in that moment.

The beer moment is focused, specific, attentive. Distractions are diminished by the centering experience of the beer. As the beer pours from the tap to the glass, you become lost in a trance as your mind zones in on a specific need. Those distractions will return, but another beer will help knock them back a little further as the curious mind hones in on the history and craft of the beer in your hand. Where did this beer come from? Why is it so good? Should I have another or a different beer? How many have I had? Mmm beer.

The beer moment is social, insightful, friendly. The connection forged by drinking a beer together breaks through the toughest of social barriers, even past what beer each person is drinking. Those with you are genuinely interested in your thoughts about the beer...and all that flows from subsequent conversation. And in return you open yourself to the time they have to offer. You may not even know their name, but you can answer their questions and hear their opinion.

The beer moment is untouched by both the price paid for the beer, the prestige of the brand or the personal preference for the beer. As soon as a beer has been poured into a glass, all beer is on common ground because of the simple beauty is beer. Some will like the beer, some will not, but it will drive conversation where no one is a lesser or a loser, but everyone has a right to their own voice. And that's where the real beer moment the precious words, few or many, that flows between equals who are all so different.

In the end the beer itself is the aspect of the moment that is rarely remembered. The conversation, friendship and understanding are the parts of the moment that live on. Cheers!

For a personal aside...the best practitioner of the beer moment that I know is Brad Merritt, who opened his own little beer bar in the hills so that his lifestyle could be the beer moment. Five night's a week Brad can chat over beer and does so with peaceful, attentive and friendly fashion. From there I write of my most recent beer moment experience...

I sit at the local bar, on a tall stool with a no-longer full glass of beer at my finger tips, the noise of the room is lost to the importance of allowing the beer to speak through its aroma, character, mouthfeel, complexity and linger. The appearance of the beer captures my attention, every beer with its own unique aura. For a moment my eyes see nothing else than the beer in the glass, through its hue to its depth. Whilst my words may be few to those around me, they are ultimately about beer. The worries of the world give way in favour of a quiet conversation about beer...over beer. Peace.


  1. Hmmm, interesting view James, not sure I agree though. I think each moment is different, so any one moment is the culmination of the moments you have had previously. This moment with this beer, is just the latest in the journey of experiencing beer. I don't approach each beer experience the same way, you have to remain flexible to the diversity of beer in general and what you could get from this particular beer, and also your own status, including the environment you are having it in. The beer moment is a collective of what brings you to the now: all the beers you have tried in the past and the way your palate has developed over that period shows how much you can appreciate the moment with any one beer. The moment then becomes somewhat fluid , instinctual and reactive, where you relate it to what you have tried before to assess it. I just took a homrebrew beer into Mountain Goat today. Sure it was an experimental beer called a Sunday Roast (roast garlic, roast sweet potato, corn syrup, rosemary, a touch of hickory smoke for meatiness), but can tell you, it was not peaceful. there was intrigue (maybe what could be called attentive) and there was openness (friendly?), but this approach was mostly from brewers or people that have grown a higher appreciation and flexibility to beer, and what it can potentially taste like. I am not sure others would come with that level of tolerance, and even if they do, if anyone can tolerate that much of this beer.
    All in all, the beer moment for me is a moment of growth.
    I do like what you say about beer being untouched and common. They are almost contradictory terms, but that is the conversation of beer.

  2. Correct, excellent, yes! Love everything you have to say there, John! You've hit the nail on the haead with this: "They are almost contradictory terms, but that is the conversation of beer."

    These are really only my words, my views, my thoughts on beer. But beer is not limited to anyone's one's a conversation! Beer is's a moment for everyone in a different way. Some people share the moment, others are at different points in their beer journey. In the's the chat over beer that gives birth to the moment, even if the words are few...

  3. It's like 1 Corinthians for beer! Nicely crafted. It certainly doesn't read like it was hastily put together.

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  5. Yeah, even when you order an expensive beer... the moment seems to grow in anticipation of what the liquid will be like once you take that first swig...

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