I was 13. I wanted to be different, be independent.
Only the select few who showed an aptitude (and interest) in languages got to study German with Mr Jeffers. (Unbelievably, those who didn’t got to swap to Spanish! I know!)A formidable teacher intellectually, Mr Jeffers. When the school took a trip to St Petersburg, he learnt Russian specifically for the jaunt. When the Head of Physics had a heart attack, he took over as Head of Physics. He was a formidable pianist. He was a bit scary, and when he spoke German, this magnified threefold.
But he won me over in the first lesson.
What did I expect to learn? Guten Tag? Auf Wiedersehen? Wie geht’s?
“If you want to get by in German you need to know the essentials. Write this down:”
Darf ich bitte ein bier bestellen?*
‘May I order a beer please.’
By many, castigated as the fuel of louts, downmarket, mass produced. Common. To others, Germans included, as honest, ancient, venerated, beguilingly varied.
Many beer writers pit beer against beer. Praise craft brewers and damn ‘international brewers’. Criticise British lager and praise Czech unquestioningly. Put Belgium on a pedestal and slag off light beers. Support cask beer but not great beer dispensed from a keg.
There are many beers I don’t like.There are brewers who don’t impress me. But these same brewers will then launch something fascinating, something that stops you in your tracks. There are beers that are praised sky high, but are nigh-on undrinkable. Occasionally, a global brewer will launch a cracker.
From the quenching pint of lager on a summer evening, to a strong Belgian ale that gets you pleasantly drunk from the feet up, the world of beer is a world that should be celebrated, and for me the world is best viewed through beer tinted spectacles.
For real? The British Guild of Beer Writers www.beerguild.co.uk
© David Preston (daptweet) and Beer Tinted Spectacles, 2012-2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Preston (daptweet) and Beer Tinted Spectacles with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.