I like a beer.
Not in an alcoholic sense. In a taste sense.
In the North East I started drinking when I was 14. I was in nightclubs that same year supping on pints of Diesel (snakebite and black). We had a rule when we used to go out drinking when we were in our early teens: drink 4 cans of normal lager (Carling, Scorpion Dry, Viborg) or 2 cans of Special Brew.
In short, I grew up drinking to get drunk. I was like that for a while.
Now I'm in my early 30s, I have a (coiffed) beard and I'm trying to appreciate something I have grown up seeing as a means to an end.
Recently I've started drinking in a different way. My local pub is a lovely real ale, craft beer pub called The Jolly Butchers. I've started reading some great books about beer and the social aspects of drinking by a chap called Pete Brown. You should read his books, they really give you some context about what you drink. Before I read his books I saw beer as a commodity, now I see beer as an art. And like art, some of it's cheap shit, some of it's twee and over-intellectualised but some of it strikes a chord with you and just feels right.
At the back of one of his books, there was a link to Beers of Europe - an online beer shop. Confusingly, but happily, they stock beers from all over the globe. So I bought some. I bought an International Mixed 24:
Not having money or the time to physically get to all these places, I started thinking about how I could virtually enjoy them in something like their natural surroundings.
Then I thought: What better way to try beers from around the globe than to drink them in their home land? Virtually...
So, I've got 25 beers. (I know there are only 24 in the box, but I also bought a case of my local ale from the North East...) Now I need 25 people at least - in each area where the beers come from.
The plan is something like this (but it'll undoubtedly evolve):
I'm going to travel around the world. Virtually.
I'm going to start in Hartlepool, then travel logically around the world. (I'll post an itinerary linked to the beers soon).
Before I travel to each location I'll find a 'local' on Twitter or Facebook or something.
When I drink my beer, they drink their beer.
We chat like we're sat in a bar.
We chat about life, work, politics, food and all the things people talk about at a bar.
We'll have a single beer and bridge the thousands of miles that may be between us.
Then I'll blog about it.
Why am I doing this?
Well, why not?
I'm interested in the people I'm going to meet virtually. I'm interested in how my life is different from the life of the people around the world, but how we probably appreciate a beer the same way - as a way of escaping, a way of relaxing, a way of thinking about life in a nice way.
What I need from you:
What should we talk about? Are there any specific things you'd like us to touch on?
Do you have any friends in each of the countries/ towns/ cities above?
What would you suggest would make it better?
Let me know what you think. Travel itinerary to follow.