The very first time I got drunk was my first time living away from home, freshmen year at uni. I went to a football players house with my future best friend, Jomi, and I ended up drinking a six pack of Natty Light (AKA 'Natural Light'). I got so sick later that I vomited all over my dorm room (CLASS, right there folks) and had quite the bonding experience with my floormates as they helped shower me off and wash my things. Honest to God, I went to the best University ever, ace people there. Then I did the incredibly awesome (AKA uncouth) thing wherein I called my mother while hungover and cried. Apparently...this is not what you do when completely drunk or hungover, when underage...or at any age, as my mother keeps telling me when I call her drunk or hungover even now. Whatever, Mom, I just want a little sympathy for my poor decisions!
For the following four years of uni, I could not force myself to drink beer. I hated it with a passion. My gag reflex started to flex it's muscle every time I got any whiff of beer.
But lo and behold, thank the Lord, that dark period has passed. Since I graduated I have discovered my love of beer and developed it into a true passion. It's even become quite the family bonding thing for my siblings and I. Almost every time we're all at home, we bound off to another local brewery in Rochester, NY and have an afternoon of tastings.
My absolute favourite birthday of all time, even surpassing my 21st birthday, would have to be last summer when I turned 29. My little sister planned it all, with my only stipulation that I wanted to tour the local gin and brewery places around the finger lakes. We took a party bus around, my whole family and my best friends Danielle and Brandon, and had a blast tasting local gins and delicious brews.
Since being in London, I haven't gotten to get out there and try what local beers there are to offer here. Which has been quite a disappointment, honestly. The majority of my friends here are not beer drinkers. Even a lot of the guys prefer cider or wine and I often just stick to wine myself in the face of following the crowd when out at the pub.
Luckily, I have found a fellow beer drinker in my classmate, Tonje! Hallelujah! (Also, shout out to my American-DC expat friend, Molly, who also will grab a beer with me anytime.) Tonje and I recently checked out the Meantime Brewing Company Brewfest right over in local Greenwich. If you have a chance when you're in London, I would HIGHLY recommend coming and trying out their craft brews over at their Brewery. Beers from the UK, Europe and even America were on tap at the Brewfest. And a lot of which you can get around London pubs as well.
|Free glass upon arrival. As well as 6 beer tasting tickets...though mine came with 7 accidentally. We were pretty pumped about that.|
My favourite beer out of all of them was a beer from the UK. It's from Harviestoun Brewery, and it's called Ola Dubh "18". A Scottish beer that tastes of whiskey and is dark like coffee. I am such a big fan of the dark beers. The thicker and darker it is, the happier I am. Give me something I might mistake as espresso, please. Additionally, there was a few amazing coffee porters as well!
Another good one was from our very own Meantime Brewery, the London Porter. I will always look for this one whenever I'm at a London pub from now on. This, and the Chocolate Porter, are my go-to beers. And the Londoner Porter is a bit lighter, almost like a Guinness. So don't be frightened by this dark beer.
|Inside of Greenwich's Meantime Brewery|
|You could use your beer tickets inside the Brewery, which made us pretty happy when the rain started to pick up.|
The beers were all on tap outside the Meantime Brewery and there were tables for ping pong (my American brain immediately thought they could be used for beer pong instead, obvi).
All the guys working behind the bars were really great at answering any nerdy questions we had, and also gave great suggestions when I'd come up with the explicit demand, 'dark. Give me dark. Beer dark as my soul.' They did not think this was weird at all. Bless.
In our welcome gift bag we also got a really fantastic guide book on all the beers with little sections to take notes. For the next Brewfest, I'll get ultra nerdy and go for the whole weekend and try all of them. I have still kept this guide for future reference....also because I have a crap memory and have more than once just brought the guide with me to Greenwich Union Pub and just shoved it at the bartenders, pointed and grunted 'I want this one.' Class.
|We were double fisting by the end. Thanks to that spare ticket I got in my bag. What a happy surprise.|
I definitely plan on attending the next one. Hopefully all the ridiculously cute guys show up for the next ones as well. I mean....I'm going for the beer of course...but the cute guys totally help.
Before all this Brewfest delightfulness, I learned the most amazing, wonderful, joyful, loveliest thing about England. You can go to bars and get a beer, or two, to go! So I marched down to my local after my flatmate informed me, chuffed look on my face, and got some beer to have with dinner one night. I was so excited I took pictures of it. Look! Beer at home! Not bought at a supermarket! SO EXCITED. (And it was CHEAPER too!)
Seriously...it does not take much to make me happy.