Now there’s a topic you wouldn’t expect me to think on after going to a rock festival. You’d think I’d rant about the awful weather, the incomprehensive choice of artists or a praise about the interesting people met there. Yet its the topic of the drink, most specifically beer, that got my attention as a topic this festival.
I had just jumped and danced myself dripping, had sang and yelled and cheered my throat dry – and then had drank most of a half-litre bottle of water – and I needed another drink. This time I wanted it to have more substance to it, though I didn’t want anything sweet (which ruled out cider and gin and Jägermeister, which were my drinks this time) and I didn’t want too strong a taste as well (which ruled out wine, which is my favourite alcoholic drink otherwise). I had a nagging feeling that beer would be the logical choice – not sweet but a bit bitter and refreshing. And I fought this feeling with all my might – and this fighting was the peculiar thing that brought the case to my attention.
I didn’t know why I loathed beer so much.
So I started giving some of my brainpower to dig the reason out from the layers and nooks and crannies of my being.
The first and most apparent answer was that I didn’t like its taste. This was the answer I had given to many beer evangelists previously, and at this festival as well. But to be fair and scientific in my approach – I don’t like the taste of most of the things I eat or drink, not particularly anyway, and wine is really the only alcoholic drink I would drink even if it wouldn’t get me drunk or wasn’t the cure for cold or the socially acceptable habit – wine is just so enjoyable. But I do drink other drinks. And actually I have loved and even bought some beer at times (the dark variance mostly)… So the taste can’t be the reason.
While I was drying there and moaning about it (and about my inablity to decide) I was – again! – suggested I should opt for a beer. Which gave me another obviously right answer – I don’t want to drink beer because of the cult surrounding the drink. Certainly, my experience is limited to the people I know and spend time drinking together, but it has become traditional for some people (that drink beer often) to suggest beer as the only right choice as a drink, as the solution to all of the problems – and to despise all other drinks. It sounds religious and it is quite common – even many people that I know to be unfamiliar with eachother act similarly independently. Of course, the reason might be that different (groups of) people have discovered independently that beer actually is the only right choice, the solution of all problems – and the other drinks are not comparable – yet in me such religious frevor, such intrusive propaganda, such consistent and unargumented belittlement of the alternatives raises only defiance and awakens my creativity to find considerable alternatives.
On the other hand – I shouldn’t judge the book by its readers, I shouldn’t deny the possibility that they are right and exactly that moment beer would be the right choice. I had ruled out other drinks sold there and I shouldn’t discriminate against it – right? At that moment the vigour of the beer evangelists had somehow reawakened and I asked for a sip to try it out.
They must have felt pretty jubilant because I was cheered as being on the verge of giving up my opposition to beer, brought as an example to my sweet friend, but just then they actually lost me again. With that taste, with that smell the memories of all my experiences of drunk jerks flooded me and at that decisive moment, when my senses were tuned to be quite selective and fine, I knew I wouldn’t stomach a full canful of the stuff. I do know many great people that do drink beer, many of my dearest friends among them, but I have met too much jerks that do as well. This taste brings to my mind uncultured, coarse and obtrusive jerks that I have had to suffer from. This suffering has etched into me the loathing for the drink and at that moment I knew that I had controlled the feeling automatically with my friends – I let them make such choices for themselves as long as it doesn’t intrude with the friendship. And then – the cultured beerdrinkers are not expressive enough about it to change the association. I knew then that altough I shouldn’t judge the drink by its drinkers, I would have too hard a time suppressing the association to make it worth the while.
I did take another sip then. It wasn’t better, but it did quench my thirst. I knew I could find it in myself to get used to the stuff, enough to appear to enjoy it – but for what end? There would be times I could fairly easily control it, forget the past and live for the moment, but there would be other times still, when I would be more sensitive and then it would be just as horrible again. Could I grow to like it? I wouldn’t say never, but it is unlikely. Could I go out with beerdrinkers? Yes, I have and will again, presuming they have proved themselves worthy otherwise. Now that I know the reason I can control the resulting revulsion more easily. And that is the only thing that really has changed.