December 16, 2016

The Pride of Drink


When in the course of human civilization, we come to abandoning old habits for the greater good; we take the challenge boldly; we march forward as if our destiny awaits; we stand before the masses and proclaim, “I will do it.  I will sacrifice for the greater good.”  It is from this understanding that I ask us, once again, to bravely venture forth, to suffer the relative indignity, to give up what has been characterized as poor manners for the sake of all; I ask us when ordering a bottle or can of beer to forgo the accompanying glass.  Alas the accompanying glass, even chilled, is not needed as the humble bottle, the lined aluminum can is a perfectly suitable holder of beverage.  Indeed it held the beverage from brewery to truck, from truck to warehouse, from warehouse to truck, from truck to store or restaurant and now occupies the most proud and esteemed location upon the table next to the coffee mug and above the knife and spoon.

Surely pouring a beer into a glass is a way of camouflaging poor taste.  Not proud of the Coors or Miller or Budweiser you prefer, pour it in a glass and be done.  Most casual observers will not be able to distinguish the swill called American Ale from a golden lager, a hardy pilsner, or the even the most robust blonde.  You will get points for sophistication without actually having any. This cannot stand.  Enough with the faux sophistication; embrace your brand or develop new tastes.  Oh friends, drinking beer from a bottle or a can is most certainly a sign of pride: pride in advertising your choice of brand.

Over the years, the marker has been hinted at by clever bar staff who ask, “You want a glass?” And while it may be tempting to always answer, “Yes.” Using a glass is not akin to accepting the offer for more tortilla chips or bread, it is merely a trick to make you think you are somehow more sophisticated.  You are not.  You are a buffoon; a soulless wretch who cares so little about their environment that you will dirty up a glass just for looks.  How dare you?  How dare you take the bait, force the dishwasher to wash an unnecessary dish so that you can hide your shame?

Have you no shame?  Does not the fact that someone is in the back of the house cleaning up dishes that you dirtied, scraping food from plates that were too amply portioned for you to finish and now you ask even more, cause you to pause before venturing forth for an evening meal?  Wary, wary, I say the bottle or can is a mark of simplicity yet courtesy for the restaurant crew that already does too much.  You are being respectful of their time, the labor they do not get paid nearly enough for, and you are showing an appreciation by drinking from a container that they can merely throw-away, or in more enlightened areas, recycle.  It is a win for the environment and a mark of respect for people who want nothing more than to earn an honest dollar and go home.

Some may say that drinking beer from a glass allows us to drink it faster and more frequently, and if speed of consumption and the quantity of alcohol consumed is a consideration then there are many more options from which to choose.  Hell, even the noble straw dipped into the bottle or can will allow you take long, full but languid sips so that the quantity can be consumed at pace.  And the noble can, with its thin veneer of aluminum can be punctured at the bottom and opened at the top such that gravity can force an ungodly amount of beer to be consumed in seconds, shotgun style.

Now, some may ask if we should forgo glasses completely and not order draft beer, and I say that that is a slippery slope, black ice on a sidewalk going down, a cliff in which we should not plunge because it is not even a consideration.  If you prefer your beer come from a tap then of course a glass is necessary because it would be a rare pub that would let you suckle at the tap like a calf suckles at its mother-cow’s udders.  So the glass, by definition, is necessary as there is no other hygienic way that it can be delivered.  This is not a comparison that merits further consideration because quite often the choice to drink draft versus bottle or can comes down to how much beer you really want.  Is it necessary to point out that drafts are usually poured in pints and bottles are four ounces shy?

So let’s dispense with this line of reasoning and revisit what needs to done.  Buying a bottle or can of beer, drinking it from the delivery system they delivered to you is as God intended; it is pride in your choice of beverage; it is stewardship for the environment and its finite resources; and it is compassion for the human labor who has to rinse, clean, sort, and put away the dishes as they make their way through the restaurant or pub.   And, finally, forgoing the glass does not mean that you can’t drink your beer on draft; you can.

Be proud of the club in which you now belong; stride forward in your day knowing that you are on the right side of history--a history that is efficient and mindful of the resources and energy that drinking beverages consumes.  You are part of a larger collective; a most noble and esteemed leader in the hospitality field, a proud beer connoisseur who drinks beer that makes him, or her, proud and best of all, you are the best humanity has to offer.

Drink proudly, my friends.