Giddy from my huge lunchtime scoop, I headed off to the Battersea Beer Festival. I've been every year since 1995, I think, and even though the past couple of years had started to make me feel this fest was dying on its arse through not enough beer and a venue that couldn't cope, I was meeting an old workmate for a few halves and some beery chat.
DP pitched up, we settled into some Hook Norton Double Stout and reminisced about London Drinker, Twickenham and some workplace beery episodes. Then he asked me if I remembered his mate Craig. Not clearly I didn't, so he proceeded to remind me of Craig's first beer fest, at this very venue a few years ago, where, being a lager drinker, he couldn't find anything he could drink. DP recalls I took him to the Foreign Beer Bar and 'nursed' him (DP's words) through some beers he could get down.
Craig was heading our way, but these days with no apparent misgivings about his choice of bevvy. Rather, he had become a bit of a real-ale monster. And so it proved. He found us sipping Otley 08, but was himself keeping his powder dry by working through sessionable strength stuff, but the list was no longer in some strange version of English, and he was set for an evening out enjoying a diverse beer list.
It made me think of Pete Brown's musing on the fruitlessness of painting beer as the new wine. A couple of years ago I had a time, a place, and a drinker who was out of his comfort zone. A bit of enthusiasm, knowledge and trust and now he's enjoying good beer.
I admit I grinned.