This month the session is hosted by the Roaming Pint. Brian asks:
"why is it important for us to visit the place the where our beers are made? Why does drinking from source always seem like a better and more valuable experience? Is it simply a matter of getting the beer at it’s freshest or is it more akin to pilgrimage to pay respect and understand the circumstances of the beer better?"
Its a great topic for session, like most people I enjoy travelling. In fact I think I enjoy travelling even more than trying new beers. Of course since getting into beer on a more active level, most trips inevitably have a beer involvement to a greater or lesser degree, as Daisy would be quick to point out! I don't tend to arrange trips solely for beer* but whilst I'm in the area - it would be a shame to miss out wouldn't it?!
|Great Leap Brewing - Beijing|
Drinking gueuze in Lembeek after a tour of the Boon brewery and fresh tmavé at U Flekku should be on everyone's beer bucket list. There's still plenty of places for me to visit (Düsseldorf, Cologne and Bamberg next perhaps?) but with beer now becoming big all over the globe I know I'll find somewhere decent to drink wherever I'm visiting.
I love to see the bar culture in other countries (even if I do feel awkward not being able to order in the lingua Franca) and also the inevitable "craftbeerisation" of beer scenes all over the world (think stripped back walls, keg taps stuck into the wall, moody lighting etc). Even better its great to get a feel for how beers are brewed all around the world: whilst most breweries are similar its the odd balls that perhaps make regional styles that are often most informative. As always, any chance to chat with the brewer about how they make their beer (and why) is always seized upon.
|Pipework at St James Gate|
And yes of course, you can't beat fresh beer at source. Beer served as intended, unhampered by beingtransported half way around the world and (usually) much more keenly priced. Until you have the opportunity to try a beer served as intended you may not fully be able to appreciate it (bottled vs draught koelsch and alt being good examples). You also often come across beers that are draught only or not exported; so you need to go to source to try them. These days there are plenty of sources to help out in finding the places, but before the advent of the Internet books such as the CAMRA guides were a godsend.
So if you haven't travelled to where your favourite beers are made, where your favourite styles originated, then why not?!
*Except to beer festivals and the beer bloggers conference of course!