I was insired by Kristy MacCreadie - as I so often am - to contribute this piece to the session, this time hosted here by Nate Dawg. It isn't new, but it is bang on the money as far as topic goes. The original post is here.
There is a saying in Bavaria: "Nur ein schwein, drinkt allein"- "Only a pig drinks on its own". That I dare say is more to do with the local sense of "gemutlichkeit" or sociability, than a statement about the inadvisability of doing so. Drinking alone can be both liberating and uplifting if you allow it to be. It most certainly should never considered taboo or abnormal, unless it is of the destructive kind. But that of course applies to all drinking.
The quiet contemplative pint is so often an enjoyable experience, sitting in a carefully chosen corner, sorting out the myriad troublesome trifles of life in your mind. Or where more neutrally, you just drift, mind vacant and at ease, while your pint waits patiently for the next absent minded sip. There are many variations to this basic theme. The newspaper reader, enjoying a simple moment of solitude while catching up with the news or footie. The crossword puzzler, brow furrowed, pen poised, looking heavenwards for inspiration. The betting man, mulling over his next flutter, at peace with the world and with hope coursing through his veins. The old gent, in his usual chair, nursing his beer while watching the varied goings on with practised interest and deriving great pleasure from the quiet familiarity of it all. The quick pint grabbed at the bar as a break from a trying day, the eagerly awaited pint after work, when cares can be thrown off, just for that brief time and when the mind can be quietly re-ordered and perspective, put back in its place. The uplifting moments of a nod here or a quiet word there, reminding you that your presence has been noted. All fall within the remit of drinking alone, but none seem sad to me.
Sociability has its place of course and going to the pub with friends is indeed a wonderful thing, but being in your own company with a pint of good beer in your hand can be an excellent way of recharging your batteries and recalibrating the day. Indeed in the right circumstances, being content with yourself and just being there is a quietly uplifting experience. There's a great big world inside you and you know, it can be explored rather satisfyingly, beer in hand, in a conducive pub.
If you think about it anyway, you aren't really that alone. The best pubs provide a connection. They draw people together in a shared existence, however fleeting and on your own or not, you are a part of it.
Do you enjoy a drink on your own in a pub sometimes? Are these old Bavarians maybe missing a trick after all? I think so.
Oh and do exercise a bit of common sense. Do this when you feel like a quiet beer on your own, but are otherwise chipper and avoid it when you are suicidal, or if your self loathing is already brimming over.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, CAMRA Chairman and (local) activist, beer author, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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