The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community which was started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin’s nice archive page.
At long last, I've got round to hosting a session. It's my turn to come up with a topic that will inspire beer bloggers around the world to write on the same day about the same subject.
But what should that topic be?
There's always a danger with something like this that you become navel gazing or self-congratulatory, that you might sit round in a big mutual circle jerk and say, 'Look at all us beer bloggers. Aren't we marvellous? Aren't we important?'
And then there's the danger that you might take something that's of passing interest in beer and magnify it to a far greater degree of importance than it should have. That we might start to debate the finer points of differences between beer styles or discuss at length the virtues of a particular hop. When I first encountered the beer world, I found such discussions crashingly dull. I often have to remind myself that I still do.
Or worse, we might write about beer blogging instead of beer. I've been guilty of that many times in the past. Occasionally it has its place. But every time, I'm brought up short by the real world, and I realise just how few people 'out there' ever read beer blogs, apart from other beer bloggers, I suspect this is why.
My approach to beer writing is by no means the only approach, but I write to try to encourage other people to share the simple joy of beer as much as I do, to switch on people who drink beer but don't particularly care about it that much, to suggest to them that there's so much more they might enjoy. No one says you have to do it this way, and no one ever made me the spokesperson for beer. It's just how I decided to write, in the same way others decided to write in an opinionated way about what they love, and what they hate.
So in that spirit, my choice of topic - with 62 topics already covered - is this: simply, the Beer Moment.
What is it?
Well, what is it to you? What does that phrase evoke for you?
That's the most important thing here. Switch off and float downstream, what comes to mind? Don't analyse it - what are the feelings, the emotions?
I've been thinking about this quite a lot recently, because I've been talking about it to various people who are working hard to try to improve the image of beer in the UK. Because whether we articulate it or not, whether we drink vile, sunstruck Corona or barrel aged imperial stout brewed with weasel shit, it's about the moment far more than the liquid itself. The only people who disagree with me on this are people I wouldn't want to share a beer with.
The moment - for me - is relaxation, reward, release, relief and refreshment. It's a moment to savour, a moment of mateship, potential, fulfilment, anticipation, satisfaction, and sheer bliss.
It's different from the moment you drink wine or spirits - it's more egalitarian, more sociable. It's not just about the flavour, nor the alcohol. It's about the centuries of tradition and ritual, the counterpoint to an increasingly stressful life, and the commonality, the fact that it means the same thing to so many.
At least - I think it does. What does it mean to you?
This session takes place on Friday 4th May (giving me the prefect excuse to use the tired but still irresistible headline above.) You don't have to take part. But if you want to, have a think, and write on Friday 4th about whatever comes to mind when you see the words 'The Beer Moment'.
If you do it as a blog post, please send me a link, and afterwards I'll do a round-up of who said what. Or if you prefer, just leave a comment below.