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A Beer is an Act of Faith


After much soul-searching and research into the psychology of beer, I have come to the conclusion that drinking beer is an act of faith.

Ask yourself this next time the lager slobber makes its oozy way down your stubbly chin and that girl you rejected three hours ago becomes better-looking. Beer goggles on, are you the same person you were at the start of the evening, or has a transformation taken place?

Milk and honeys

Let’s rewind to the first pint of the session. Completing a transaction as common and satisfying as pop music, you order, the bar person delivers, you make payment and contemplate the perfect drink that perches, siren-like, on the bar in front of you. It’s calling your name: who are you to refuse that summons?

Here’s the act of faith. You sip, and that magical journey into Beer World begins in earnest. From here, you are relying on this odd-tasting brew to deliver you to an alternate reality, where women find you funny and devastatingly sexy, where anything is possible, except failure. Yes, my friends, Beer World is a wonderful land of milk and honeys.

Just beyond this stage comes a remarkable phenomenon…

The Beer Event Horizon

Before many pints have passed through you, you’ll reach the Beer Event Horizon. By now, you’re over the ‘Beer is weird-tasting’ stage and rehearsing the ‘Beer is delicious’ myth lore. Patting your beer belly in delight, you declare to whoever will listen that THIS is the best pint you’ve ever tasted.

Like a beer glass falling floorwards, you’re approaching the Beer Event Horizon too rapidly to stop your acceleration. Until you pass through the BEH, you enjoy the beer itself more than its effect on your mind, body and soul. Beer DOES taste good! Your faith has been repaid.

But then, with an almost-audible POP!, you pass through the BEH and out into the no-man’s-resistible land that is the Midnight Zone.

The Midnight Zone

Around midnight, or four hours after your first pint (whichever is sooner), you reach a point where the beer’s effect is at its most bewitching. Your beer goggles are polished to maximum sharpness. Contrary to the lies of beer psychology, at this stage you CAN differentiate between a ‘tugboat’ and a ‘speedboat’.

What’s changed is your ability (or willingness) to CARE. You see the inner beauty in that tugboat making eyes at you from ten feet away. You imagine getting to know her friends and family, watching movies, exchanging emails and books, eating dinner (and each other).

Yes, the beauty of beer psychology is that, unlike all other forms of psychology, once you understand how it works, it still has an effect on you.

Zenith to Nadir in three rapid steps

This is the zenith of the evening. You are James Bond and Don Juan rolled into one devastating package. She is Mata Hari meets Dorothy Parker. You’re both having the same lustful fantasies and will crash back down to earth at the same sorry time. You’ve also reached the point when additional faith in your beer activates the law of diminishing returns. Further imbibing at this juncture is extreme folly.

Step One on the downward spiral is your passage home (hers or yours). Launch your tugboat as soon as you can guarantee to be sailing in her, because within a few hours you will be discovered as a stowaway and made to walk the plank.

Step Two is anything that occurs between boarding your tugboat in the bar and waking up on the deck the next morning, lager slobber on the sheets, kebab smells (or worse) wafting through the bedroom, the briefest snatches of memory piecing themselves together. I’ll leave the other ‘highlights’ of Step Two to your imagination, personal boundaries of taste and decency.

Beer psychology is never crueller than now, because however bad you feel on awakening, broken beer goggles long lost, you know it can only get worse before it gets any better.

Step Three is throwing your life raft overboard, abandoning ship and navigating home again. This is agonizingly more complicated if you sailed back to YOUR port instead of docking at her place, because you now have to evict the unwelcome vessel from your harbour using any means possible.

The calm after the storm

You’re dealing with unpleasant pains in your beer belly, nagging doubts about what promises you made in the heat of the moment and the tremendously real-seeming fear that this girl possesses Glenn Close-in-Fatal Attraction tendencies and will stalk you/hunt you down/confront your regular girlfriend/wife at any time.

At some stage in the nearish future, you will sit at a similar bar, face a similar pint and undertake an identical act of faith. So ask yourself again: are you the same person you were before, or has a transformation taken place? The truth may well lie at the bottom of that pint glass. Best take a sip, just to check...

Submitted by:

Ashley Cotter-Cairns

Ashley Cotter-Cairns is Secretary-General of http://www.united-nations-of-beer.com/index.html, an organisation dedicated to bringing the world together, two glasses at a time. If you want to be a UNOB Beer Delegate for your country, visit http://www.united-nations-of-beer.com/beer-delegates.html





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