Lockdown inevitably means changes in habits and routines. I know some people are drinking more, some not at all. I guess it’s all just a bit different. Pubs closed. Trying times. Everything essentially a bit…odd.
It has been an opportunity to work through the beer in the cupboard that prior to all this never seemed as interesting as whatever new purchase was in the fridge. The bottle of Director’s was actually pretty good. I have also learned that very out of date beer is generally still pretty drinkable, even if a little “lively”.
I had a delivery from No Frills Joe brewery where the beer was on my doorstep an hour after I had put in the order. It was excellent too. The Dreamland is well worth your time.
However, my favourite new routine has been the delivery service from Bexley Brewery.
Each Monday morning the beer list is sent out. This immediately makes Monday mornings immeasurably better. There are options for their own beer (fresh cask, mini cask, bottles) plus a guest cask beer. You can get cider too, if that’s your sort of thing.
The beer is then delivered later in the week, ready for the weekend. The delivery (with social distancing fully observed) is one of the rare in-person interactions I have each week outside my immediate family.
The beer is always wonderful. For reference, the Anchor Bay has been the number one for me – a brilliantly balanced, fresh, refreshing IPA that is more on the traditional than tropical end of things, but no less punchy for it.
But as always, it is never just about the beer. This is about how breweries and pubs are integral to our communities, and still are, even now.
Beer is more than just the hops, barley, yeast and water. Pubs are more than bricks, mortar, beer pumps and beer mats.
These kinds of services help make us feel less isolated in a time of isolation. They offer precious routine during a time of uncertainty. They offer a taste of normality in abnormal times. They are something to look forward to, when it is hard to look forward at all.
This is my contribution to The Session, the revival of the monthly blogging challenge for beer writers. This month’s challenge was to write about the new normal when it comes to beer.
The consideration and arrangement of beer deliveries has probably taken up more of my mental spaces during lockdown than it really should have, but it does seem important. Both a connection to the past and some quite exciting new ways of doing things. Also: beer. I’ve had a couple of deliveries from Villages in Deptford and worked out I prefer their Rodeo and Rafiki to their pilsner (a learning!), and also been frustrated at failing to get out of my Beer52 subscription, the beers of which are in the main far too novelty for my tastes. Self-isolation means I’ve not been able to walk down to the River Ale House to try their takeaway service, but maybe next week. Then there’s the Small Beer Co which is intriguing me (a response perhaps to a nagging feeling that maybe this isn’t the healthiest way to go on…).
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I think beer deliveries are a good thing to take up our mental spaces, and probably more healthy than other things! Absolutely agree it’s a link to the past and an exciting new development – feels like a real luxury having decent, fresh beer delivered, and I wonder if it might continue even when pubs reopen. It seems a sensible approach to the survival of pubs and breweries more generally. Might not be the healthiest way to go on, but also think current circumstances naturally limit consumption. I certainly appreciate and savour what I’ve got more than usual.