I never thought that I would say this; but, I miss beer. Not mass produced American beer, the swill that tastes like water gone bad and gives me a headache without the buzz. No, I miss better beer than that.
I miss a good, dark German herbal beer. I miss ordering a meter board of it to share around the table. I miss the camaraderie of the first drink, where you had to drink as much of it in one go as you could, with the goal of getting as close to the “line” of the meter board holding the glasses as you could. Going under the line was an automatic loss, otherwise whoever was the furthest away would be the loser. And of course the loser always bought the next round. Each board cost about 15 euros, and for the amount of beer you got, it was a fabulous deal.
I miss a good German Weissen. Light, crisp, refreshing. I miss sitting at a table full of handballers and watching them order, one after another Colaweissen, Colaweissen, Radlerweissen. See, in Germany it’s perfectly acceptable to mix your beer with Cola, Radler (lemonade), or even fruit juice. B tried all types of Weissen mixes while we lived there. You can even by both Colaweissen and Radlerweissen in bottles from the stores. And they do both mixes with Pils too. Most handball games that were won, ended with a victory celebration that involved this oh-so-German drink.
I miss the Belgian Lambic beers. Those were the first “real” beers that I tried. A good friend in Houston talked me into trying a Framboise out one night. Another time, two Scottish business men bought me some half-pints of a couple of different lambics to try out. And then there’s going to Belgium and actually drinking them. Long nights up in Bruges drinking with friends and friends of friends. Laughter abounded. We bounced from bar to bar and passed the drinks around as we tried Honey, cherry, mango, peach, strawberry, raspberry, and chocolate lambics. Personal favorites were declared, but it didn’t matter we still shared them all anyway. There was no fear in Belgium of being made fun of for drinking a light, crisp, and fruity beer. It’s part of who they are.
Sometimes I wonder if I miss beer so much or if I really just miss the people and experiences. Or if it’s some part of both. Sometimes it seemed in Germany that you couldn’t separate the people from the drinks. Weekends involved nights out at a favorite pub or bar and sharing rounds with friends. My memories of the beers are irrevocably intertwined with my memories of the people. Our first night out with Coach and our last night out with Coach involved many rounds of Colaweissen. Our nights out with some of our closesst friends almost always involved a meter board of beer. And the lambics? Well, I’m pretty sure that I bleed Framboise, or would if I was given my druthers.
These people, these places, these drinks, have left an indelible mark upon my soul. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but tonight? I am missing beer.