THE SESSION #118— BEER BLOGGING FRIDAY The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry.
The December 2016, edition The Session No. 118 was hosted by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. The theme directions were simple and yet wide open, Four Guests Four Beers.
When I first read the theme my mind went to historical men and women that I have wanted to meet and perhaps share a beer such as Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln or Benjamin Franklin. Or more contemporary heroes like Paul McCartney or Ronald Reagan. And then my mind drifted even further and I thought about the story A Christmas Carol and I could meet and share beers with the ghosts of Beery Past, Present and Yet to Come (I'd have to make up the forth ghost, perhaps the ghost that could have been). The more I thought about it, the more personal it became.
A Beer With My Father
The first of my four people and beer choices was quite easy. My father passed away at the age of 72. He died from complications due to Alzheimer's disease. He had been battling with that disease for about 10 years before it took him. I had always wanted — hoped — to have a relationship with my father where we could sit down and have a beer together and talk about life, life's lessons, joys, hopes and disappointments, growing up, just having a lasting adult relationship with him. But suddenly and totally unexpectedly he started to lose his mind. And before you know it he was gone.
I've often said, or at least thought, I just wanted to sit down and have a beer with him. Because that's kind of what a beer has become for me now. It’s more than a beer, its a moment. It's a pause to reflect, to think, to celebrate, to share, just to enjoy some peaceful time, and if its with others so much the better. And I never had that time, that relationship with my father. Alzheimer's stole that from me, from us. So, if somehow I could make a wish and could have a beer with someone, that would be an easy choice — with my father.
Many times I would see him over the course of the weekend drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon, always from a can. Now I don't think a whole lot of Pabst beer these days, I don't drink it. But what it symbolizes is far, far greater than any mere taste of beer. It symbolizes an important relationship, an innocent time in my life. The time that was stolen from us. The time that I'd always wanted to spend with him. And to drink that beer.
A Beer With My Son
That beer that I wanted to have with my father and never did I can now play forward and enjoy it with my son. As I'm writing this, he is 25. Earlier this year he married his high school sweetheart. That day was one of the best of my life. And now, I love watching the two of them together. I hopefully have taught him some things about life and beer, and now he is teaching me about his passions.
He loves good German beer and his favorite is Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier. He knew to buy the proper weissbier glasses. I told you he was smart (and good looking). We occasionally have that beer and I enjoy every moment, every sip we have together. Prost! Zum wohl!
A Beer With Lost Friends
Chris Holmes was a friend of mine. We spent some good times together. But more than a person, I am sorry to say, Chris is a symbol of friendship lost. A friendship that never fully developed, but I had hoped someday would. Chris passed away this year, suddenly, from a brain tumor. He was a man full of life, fully enjoyed his family and friends and life's experiences. And I wish I had known Chris deeper and more thoroughly. I wrote on his online journal when I had learned of his passing that my mind was fixed on a quote from a James Taylor song, "I always thought that I would see you again".
And so this third beer is for Chris and Bob and Joe and Tom, all of those friends that you wanted to develop a more meaningful relationship with, but you keep putting off, because life happens — but then one day it doesn't. And this is the toast to all of my friends that I have lost far too early, that I wanted so much to have a deeper relationship. In the hope that I will keep Chris in my mind when I'm thinking about the friends before me. That I will not put off time with them. Because life is short, time is fleeting, and friendships are far too important to put off till tomorrow.
So what beer would I have with Chris or Joe? I think, it would have to be Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale. That was a beer that has been special in my life, that really opened my eyes to how good a beer can be. And I’d like to share one, no two, maybe even three, with these friends. I'm older now, and have learned that we should not take moments or friends for granted.
A Beer With Myself
I've often heard of interview questions were someone asks what advice would you give to your 30-year-old self. I thought 22 might be a good age to have that talk, but at that time my life I had just graduated college, didn't have many cares or worries, I was bright and shiny and ready to take on the world.
But by the time I turned 30, some of the shininess had started to tarnish a bit. I’d been in some some relationships that didn't work out and was wondering if I'd ever find the right person, if I'd ever marry and have children.
I would like to tell my 30-year-old self to just be patient, in about another year you'll meet the love of your life. You will have two beautiful children together and they will grow into wonderful people. Yes, they'll be ups and downs but life in general is really very good. As for the beer, you're going to have to settle for industrial lager for a while. But try this, it's a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. You'll have to wait a few years to have it again but it will be worth it. And oh, put more money into savings, you're going to need it.
A beer is not just a drink, it is a moment — a celebration of sorts. Whether its just you, a dear friend, or a group of people you just met. There you are — enjoy the moment, enjoy the beer, enjoy your life. And never take the moment for granted — it is a gift. And with the famous words of Tiny Tim, "God bless us, every one!"
Jack Perdue is a regular beer blogger at DeepBeer.com and contributor to beer-related adventures on Twitter @DeepBeer. He is a Cicerone Certified Beer Server and studying for the next level of certification. He has worked at a prime bottle shop on Maryland’s Eastern Shore for over 8 years and has toured many fine beer locations around the world, with more lined up on his bucket list.