Wednesday 19 September 2012

Wine tastings are so last's the thing

Adrian’s away again.  Last week it was Zagreb, this week it’s northern Bohemia in the Czech Republic and then straight on to Munich for the Oktoberfest.  I can’t say I begrudge him one little bit – beer festivals aren’t exactly my game. J 

People (well, mainly men; well, okay mainly beer-drinking men) always say he has the best job in the world.  To which he always shakes his head.  ‘They think all I do is stand around boozing,’ he says, with a hangdog expression. And I raise an eyebrow. ‘Or sit around boozing,’ he adds and I nod.  He looks hurt. ‘There’s a lot more to it than that,’ he says with a sigh.  And I say, ‘I know.’ 

And, to be fair, there is.  He prepares for ages before these trips, talking to people, checking out the details of obscure bars and breweries, making contact with even more obscure brewers and publicans, making lists of which particular obscure beers and lagers he needs to taste.  And when I say taste, I mean taste as in the whole swirling it round the glass and sniff sniff sniffing thingy. And yes, the gobbling and swilling round the cheeks malarkey too.  

Because beer, you see (taste, smell, hear) is just as complex as wine.  I’ve never been much of a beer drinker (even when I drank) but I used to quite like the sniffing bit – yes, things like woodsmoke and grapefruit and mango and coffee and …oh you get the drift.  Adrian swears that beer is actually more complex than wine and that there is certainly way more variety.  He’ll even tell you that beer has ‘terroir’ – just as much as any grand cru.

Years back, when he announced that he was going to make a living out of beer, I laughed (and, I hold up my hands and admit, quite freely, that it was not laughing in a jolly way but more in a bitter and twisted way).  ‘Good luck with that,’ I said, mentally figuring I would need to write a couple more books a year to make up the shortfall.  But I was wrong.  Now he writes regularly for the Telegraph and for the Sunday Times travel magazine and for a host of specialist publications around the world.  He's won shedloads of awards for his writing. And he’s written a fair few books too – all in praise of beer and things beery.  So I eat my hat (or rather neck back my pint – or I would if…oh you know what I mean).  The Bonkers House now keeps afloat

Some of you already know this of course.  But what you probably don’t know is that he also does pretty damn good beer tastings and talks.  Honestly, I thought they’d be grim as hell but nope – turns out my husband can actually be damn funny and informative and…erudite.  People love them. They smile. They laugh. They make notes. They sip and slurp and nod at one another. They say he makes them thirsty.  Apparently you can't even get rid of them at the end of the night - they just wanna stay chatting and drinking and wotnot. 

So, I guess what I’m saying is this.  If you or your company or whatever is considering a wine tasting (you know – for one of those corporate thingies, or team building or wotnot) then maybe think again.  Go for beer.  It’s cool.  It's different. It's - er...edgy.  No, really, it's not just louts necking Stella or old guys in tweed caps with whippets nursing warm pints of mild. It's...y'know...rock and roll.  Jesus, even rock stars are doing it... 

Drop him a tweet or check out  his blog.  He’ll happily travel if you meet his expenses – and his fees aren’t aimed at city bankers.  Seriously – give it a whirl.


Anonymous said...

As far as Durham? I think I know a few chaps who would love a guided beer tasting.

Exmoorjane said...

As far as anywhere, providing he doesn't end up out of pocket... :) Drop him a line. I have always wanted to go to looks lovely.

Margaret Grant said...

I still say he's a lucky b*&%^$%. I enjoy wine, but quite often only beer will do.