Beer has been very good to me. It may not have been kind to my liver, and it has certainly contributed to some intense headaches, but it has a dramatic effect on my state of mind, and has given me the opportunity to meet people I may not have otherwise met.
Of course, I blame my brother-in-law. I had begun to find the usual mass produced lager boring and bland and had craved something a little different. I’d tried some traditional ales and although not completely won over, they had become my drink of choice when visiting a pub or bar. I didn’t know anything about ‘craft beer’ and didn’t know beer could taste so amazing.
My journey began when I accepted Roger Protz’s challenge to drink 300 Beers before I shrugged off this mortal coil. I simply hadn’t realised the vast array of beers available, and the various different styles across the world. I roped a friend into completing the challenge with me and we set about the list (he even created a spreadsheet, he loves spreadsheets). My gateway drug, and the beer that convinced me I needed more was Williams Brothers Fraoch Heather Ale.
Since drinking this beer eighteen months ago, I have been on a voyage of discovery and have drunk some great beers from across the world, some of my favourites include Battle Horse by Buxton, Human Cannonball and Un-human Cannonball by Magic Rock, The Tickle Monster by Siren Craft Brew/To Øl and slightly further away from home Mexican Cake by Westbrook Brewing Co.
Not only have I discovered some great beers, but I have also visited some fantastic places and have even begun to plan my holidays and trips away based on where is good for beer! Some of the top places I have visited this year have included Bath Brew House in Bath, The Evening Star and Seven Stars in Brighton, a large majority of the bars I visited in Leeds (it’s an amazing place for Craft Beer!), and then further afield Kulminator and Oude Arsenaal in Antwerp, Belgium.
Closer to home in the West Midlands, we may not be as privileged to have quite as many great bars as Leeds has, but we still have some brilliant places to drink and buy beer, and through visiting these places I have had the opportunity to meet like minded people, who I’ve developed good friendships with.
I have found the beer world to be full of open minded, caring and funny people, all of whom share my passion for beer.
Beer is good for me because it has given me a purpose, a hobby and friendships. Through this blog I hope to share my passions and give a little back to the culture that has given so much to me. In this blog, I have already mentioned various beers I have enjoyed and places I’ve been to, both in the Midlands and beyond – these are things both me, and those contributing to this blog look forward to discussing and exploring more as the blog moves forward.