On the first Friday of every month a small group of beer bloggers take part in a thing called The Sessions. Which is also known as Beer Blogging Friday.
Each month, one blogger puts their hand up to be the host. They then get to pick the topic for that month’s Session and all the other participating bloggers write something on that topic. This month’s host is Steve Lamond over at Beers I’ve Known who has come up with the topic of beery yarns.
‘‘This month I’m going to give you plenty of scope for originality by setting a wide-open theme. I want to hear your beery tall tales, yarns, recollections (in a Grandpa Simpson style) or otherwise, delivered in the manner that you befits sitting around a log fire, favourite beer in hand. Only proviso is that it has to involve beer in some way, whether that be a particular beer jogging your memory of a previous event or beer taking a bigger role in the recollected tale. Its up to you.’’
Jeez but this was a hard Session topic. Perhaps the hardest I’ve tried to tackle in my year and a bit run of Session participation. I could have chosen to skip this one, but that would break my streak of 14 straight Sessions. And I’d hate to break that run up.
Why is it so hard? Because, I’m a sucky storyteller. I like listening to them, hate telling them. Yeah, I’m a writer and a blogger – even wrote some fiction during NaNoWriMo one year – but still don’t consider myself much of a storyteller.Which is to say that, perhaps, this might not be the most stunning Session post I’ve ever written. And that may disappoint the 20-odd people who might read this.
Anyway, lets just start, shall we? By the way, don’t picture me sitting near a fire telling you this story. It’s summer in Australia – too frigging hot for a fire.
Three years ago, I’d scored a freebie weekend away down the NSW South Coast in exchange for writing a story about the trip (in my day job as a journalist). On the second day, the family stopped in at Mogo Zoo to see the animals. To me, zoos aren’t so great, but for my young daughter – who hadn’t seen snakes or elephants in the flesh before, it was a fantastic time.
And an overwhelming one. Not long after we got back into the car, the little one fell asleep. On the way to Narooma, our destination for the night, we stopped off at a bottle shop while she stayed asleep. In there I spied a six-pack of Burleigh Brewing’s 28 Pale. It’s a beer that is now available at quite a few places but back then it was very new. So new that I’d never seen it before. I loved the pale blue colour on the label and I even loved the dubious guff on the back label explaining how some big surf swell inspired the name.
So I bought a six-pack and, with the little one still asleep, headed to Narooma – a 40-minute drive away. The daughter slept the whole way. And she continued to sleep when we parked the car at our lakeside cabin and unloaded.
While I sat outside near the car – with the rear window to provide my daughter with some air on what was a hot day – my wife went inside and found a bottle opener. She cracked open two of those beers and we sat in the shade, up against the side wall of the cabin quietly sipping our beers and enjoying the peace and quiet.
As any parent can appreciate, children can be very time-intensive. So any period of time you have to yourself can feel special. It can make you really appreciate sitting in the shade on a hot day sipping a new – and very delicious – beer.
Of course, the little one eventually woke up, but not before the wife and I had polished off another beer.
To this day, I have a very strong soft spot for 28 Pale. Even thinking about the beer makes me feel happy.