Updated on January 12, 2016
5 tips for enjoying beer this Summer (like you need any!)
I have a complicated relationship with beer in Summer.
“What’s so complicated?” you ask. “Summer is hot. Beer is cold and delightful. Therefore, drink beer!”
I’d like it to be that simple. I really would. And perhaps one day I will be filthy rich and live on a tropical island and Jeeves will source my beer from around the world and bring it to me as I lounge on my inflatable crocodile. But until this is the case, it’s not a simple time for me.
It’s hot and sunny, and so I want to drink plenty of beer. But I need to conserve money for a lot of Christmas expenses, and for the multitude of social engagements I’m a part of throughout December and January, and so I try not to buy too much beer.
I get a lot of opportunities to spend time with friends and family, so I want to share beers with people I love. But I also know I’m going to be eating a whole lot more food and drink than usual, and so in the interests of not doubling in size, I try not to drink too much beer.
Then of course there’s the dilemma that faces every beer lover all year round, but is exacerbated during Summer. “I love drinking beer with people. But I also love drinking beer peacefully on my own.” I have the joy of community and relationships tugging at one of my arms, and the blissful meditation of enjoying a chilled brew in solitude tugging at my other arm. This means that I need to employ some discernment, restraint and delayed gratification if I’m going to avoid making some unwise life decisions (ie drinking a beer every time I think, “Mmm, a beer would be nice right about now”).
See what I mean by ‘confusing’?
So in order to keep my bank account from getting too small, my belly from getting too big, and yet still take great pleasure in a can/bottle/glass, I have a few guidelines that I try to keep in mind.
Schoonerversity’s 5 tips for enjoying beer this Summer (like you need help to enjoy beer!)
1. When someone asks you what you want for Christmas, say, “Beer, please.”
When people ask me this question, I used to say, “I don’t really need anything.” I mean, most of us don’t really need anything, do we? And when we get given presents by people we really love, who are really generous and well-intentioned, we often say, “Thanks so much!” while thinking “…but I don’t really want this.”
If you want to appreciate your presents more, feel much more genuine gratitude toward loved ones, and get plenty of great beer all at the same time, it’s quite simple—ask for it. Gift vouchers for your favourite bottle shop or bar, six-packs or cartons of your favourite beer, or assortments of beers you haven’t tried before. It’s up to you how broad or specific your requests are, but take it from someone who’s enjoying them right now: these will give you great joy over the coming weeks and months.
(I know it’s a little late to hear this AFTER Christmas, but it’ll serve you well next Christmas, and it holds true for birthdays, too!)
2. Really, truly enjoy your beers.
Tell me if you’ve done this before: you’ve got a new beer in your hand, and you drink it over the course of the next 10-30 minutes while talking with friends or watching TV or eating a meal. But by the time you’ve finished it, you think to yourself, “…I don’t remember what that tasted like.”
I kick myself every time I do that. Because it generally means I’ve just consumed a beer without actually enjoying it. Which was the reason I got the beer in the first place.
When you get a beer, stop for a second. Have a smell of it, and savour the first and second sip. You don’t need to make a big deal of it, or spend ten minutes ignoring the people around you so you can record the experience. But taking that moment to reflect on and appreciate what you’re drinking will make a memory of that beer, and when you get to the end, you’ll be able to relish that beer in your mind for a lot longer than you did in your mouth.
3. Lower your standards (sometimes).
Now, this might seem like a contradiction to the last point. And I know it’s bordering on heresy for some of us beer snobs. (If you think reading this point may tempt you to burn me at the stake, please skip to the next one!) But it’s all about context.
I reckon there’s a time and a place to drink bad beer.
There are two contexts I’m thinking of when you can wring a good beer experience from not-good beer. The first (less important) one is the it’s-so-hot-that-any-beer-would-go-down-well-right-now. This is also sometimes called the after-mowing-beer. You know the scene: you’re sweating like a pig, your mouth is dry, and that icy cold liquid gold brings on a whole body feeling of euphoria. It might be a micro-batch single-hopped IPA that was brewed lovingly to Beethoven’s 5th… or it might be a Tooheys. Yet somehow, somewhere between the 90% humidity and the blazing ball of fire watching your every move, the playing field has been levelled just enough that any beer is worth drinking. It’s primal. It’s tradition. It’s Australian. (It’s also economical, if you’ve kept your eyes peeled for dirt-cheap beers in the bargain bin at your local bottle-o!)
The second context is the more important one. It’s called the people-are-more-important-than-beer principle. This is when you’re with friends or family and someone says, “You want a beer?” and you say, “Yeah, cheers” and knock back the Hahn Super Light that’s been offered to you. In this case, the enjoyment of the beer experience may not come from the beer itself, but from the act of sharing a beer with people you love. Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “No, thanks” and have some Coke or water. But it’s never okay to say, “I refuse to touch the peasant swill that you find acceptable! Begone, Sewage Swallower, before I glass you with my Spiegelau!” Because it’s better to be a beer connoisseur than a beer jerk.
4. Take on a couple of habits to help offset your beer intake
As much as it saddens us all to remember it, beer isn’t a health food. And you don’t have to be a super health nut to wish to keep the beer gut and liver damage to a minimum. If you’re drinking more beer than usual, try to match that with a few habits or activities to offset some of it. Whether it’s going to the gym or going for walks in the evening, guzzling iced water at every opportunity or sticking to light breakfasts, any of these can do their bit to extend your life and reduce your guilt—even if it’s only a little bit!
5. Drink a beer in the pool at least once over the course of Summer.
Seriously. Do yourself a favour. There’s nothing like it.
If you have any more tips for enjoying beer over Summer, I’d love to hear them! (If you don’t—I don’t need your help. I’ll enjoy it all on my own.)