Beerman and Saint Petrus

I love beer. I always have. I am a beerman.

They say the taste of beer, is an acquired one. I guess there is something in it. Beer (especially lukewarm lagers), taste when you sip them inside  your body, roughly like it does on the other way around. But cold beer – now, for something completely different.

Living in UK, it is possibly mandatory to love beers. Well, if you do not love things you do almost every day – it may lead to terrible frustration. So better love it said Confucius ages ago (my take off).

They even got beer festivals here in UK: you buy an empty glass (sounds foolish – doesn’t it? wait and see) and then basically taste all the presenters new beers (and some old ones) until you are not thirsty (or more likely, collapse – I tried to stay relatively politically correct).

I had an enjoyable experience in USA as well – I remember a pub in Boston a friend took me to when he studied at MIT, when there were 270 (!!!) kinds of beer at that time, out of which 70 were from barrels. I was only a couple of weeks there and sworn I will taste all of them. I must admit I had failed, but will never tell you by what slim a margin… I believe today there are 350 kinds there, and they aim for 365, so you can drink a different kind every day of the year. From chocolate, to ginger, to berries, to all kind of lagers, pilsners, wheat beers, dark and brown stouts,  ales and real ales and the truly only real ales, from no alcholol to low, mild and extremely strong. Open your mind, and then your throat.

But strangely enough, the most memorable  beer experience I ever had was back in my home country. No huge beer tradition there, but my best memory so far. I was a teenager. I used to play Tennis with a friend I will call Petrus and our gang of geeks with no girlfriends and lots of energy on Friday nights. He had a private course at his amazing home (his house used to belong to one of Israel best Tennis players, Amos Mansdorf, who of course had to have a course ) – A full qualified doubles one. We played for hours, mostly in couples format which I adored (later pursuing playing Bridge for the national youth team for the same bonding experiences – and what do you know: even got married for probably the same reasons), usually with multiple small foolish bets.  Bets were everything those days. Amongst our group there were better athletes than me, also much better build people, but I did OK. You shan’t be worried.

This all leads to the best beer experience I have had, which is sifting a beer from a nearside course cabin, who had mainly a fridge full of beers. The main house (perhaps a hundred yards further) had beers as well, but it’s those nearby cabin fridge beers my memory delves on. So after a  few hours of play, an ice cold Goldstar beer or  some imported ones, I don’t recall properly, were our prize. There was nothing like it. Your body eagered every drop, in a passion I had only found later with the other gender. A truly remarkable taste. Acquired or not, I did not give a damn. I even became a barman for few month later on while doing my duties to the country, cherishing those exact moments, only to discover that barmen do not drink at work. Such a shame.

Since than I had drunk hundreds of different kinds, in plenty of countries, with many a friend. But nothing equals Saint Petrus’s beer after a series of Tennis matches. Win or lose – we all won every Friday.

With love to Petrus and the Gang.


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