I went to the desert to find myself, but I only found a beer. And that my friends is all that I needed. Sometimes it’s just that easy. Kind of strange how things can simply get better with a beer. Apologies to those who are simply unable to partake or choose not to, but some of the best times we have had over our many vacations has been with that frosty…sometimes, beverage in our hands. Even a warm beer can make the day that much nicer depending on the time and place.

I’m certainly not advocating that you drop what you’re doing and start guzzling a pilsner at this very moment but if the opportunity is there I certainly wouldn’t stop you either. I will even lead you to my special friend if you haven’t been formally introduced. Adding the special concoction of hops and barley just adds a special vibe to an already ideal situation. So much so that I have even found myself taking pictures of beers. Like some long-lost acquaintance, I find myself downright amused, if not giddy, when a beer is in my hand.

Now, bear in mind that on any given day a beer is probably not to far away from my hand. No, I don’t 9-5 with it in my system, have never been, nor wanted to be, a morning drinker and I never drink with the intention of getting drunk anymore. Once age decided to pay a visit to me and ruin my hopes for everlasting immunity to hangovers, I decided a limit is a limit. So, with taking all of this out of the equation, I am left with one obvious explanation for my affinity to beer. It’s just good. And on vacations, it’s just damn good.

I’ve stared at the Coliseum in Rome with a beer in my hand. Stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon with a beer in my hand. Neuschweinstein, beer. Belize, St Kitts, Innsbruck or Lucerne? Beer, beer, beer and beer. Until recently I didn’t realize the role that beer plays in my travels. But a light from above, or quite possibly the first light of morning, has shown me just how integral this brewed beverage has become.

So special a relative beer has become that he or she seems to photobomb us frequently on our journeys. Sometimes you could say that beer even becomes the spotlight. My own face and the faces of the people within the frame of the moment in time seem to take a backseat to the color, label or name of the local brew. It’s a scene stealer and I’ve come to grips that it’s simply much more popular than me. And this is not just a local phenomenon, but worldwide. No matter where you go, you can bet you’ll find a beer.

Sound silly? In fact it’s actually not. The thing about beer is that it manages to encapsulate the taste and feel of the community it represents. For centuries it has been a beacon of pride for many locations throughout the world, especially in Europe. And no matter where you go, they have the best beer. If you took the word of the locals, no other place or beer even comes close. America has just began to really experiment and change-up the recipes. There’s good and bad news in this new-found “craft brew” industry. The good news being that there’s a flavor for every taste. The bad news is when you visit foreign lands with a tested palate and ask for anything other than the beer they offer. Sometimes the offering is quite simple, light and dark.

Be Aware of Beer Etiquette

There’s really no bad news because in the end, you’re still getting a beer. It may not be an IPA or sour or whatever is the flavor of the month, but you can be assured that whatever is coming from the tap or jug, it will taste just fine. I’ve pissed off a Jamaican for asking for anything other than Red Stripe and equally received looks of discontent when inquiring about the possibility of a hoppier beer in Munich. I’ve learned my lessons over the years and that is I sit down and I say, beer please, in the local language of course. I’m not a rogue so my manners on beer slinging are quite respectful. But, if you do find yourself in a pickle, simply say beer. And like magic, one appears. It is, by all accounts, the universal language.

So if you’re reading this and thinking that I have an elbow-tipping problem, you’d be right. My problem is that I simply can’t taste every beer that has ever been produced, but God willing I will continue that journey to find malty bliss in each and every corner of the world.

Beer Breaks the Ice…Literally!

I think one of the best experiences you can have as a traveler is to feel comfort. So when I step off that plane or boat, my little friend is never too far away. It’s as if they already knew I was coming. And that friend of mine does a pretty good job of introducing me to many of his friends. Before you know it, I’m surrounded by other Very Important People sipping out of a mug the size of a Texas boot while I talk complete nonsense, language not slur(nobody likes that dialect). But the one language they understand is a clang of the glasses and a wink as if to say, you are my new best friend! Hell, you may even sing a song and if the mood catches you in the right frame of mind. By then the satisfaction sets in as you just made a good holiday into a great one!

Now there are many people in the world who will try to tell you that this whole beer thing is just a fad, but don’t believe them. You have to stick up for your friends and just like Charlton Heston said famously, “If you want my beer, you’ll need to pry it from my cold…” Um, that may not be exactly verbatim but I think he liked his beer to so in any case you’re fan club is vast. So don’t be shy with your fondness for beer as I am certainly not. Instead, raise your glass, find 100 of your closest friends that you have yet to meet and take a sip for my friend! Travel well, experiment plenty and have a hoppy vacation! And, if by chance you don’t like beer or can’t drink beer, there’s always water?

 

The posts for ThatIrieGuy should be taken with a grain of salt but enjoyed like a fine wine (or beer). Help make travel fun again and while you’re collecting all those miles and points, never lose sight of the real message. Travel changes you. Live Within Your Means, Travel Beyond Them.