Friday, October 11, 2019

I’ll always be the guy that can’t finish his beers

Quite a few years ago I lived in the Netherlands and I loved it. I had an apartment just outside Amsterdam city centre, got up later than I'd usually have been in the office in London, cycled to work and was still usually the first person in at 8.30am or so. The office also emptied out by 5.30 pm so I could enjoy my evenings on most days of the week. 

That enjoyment usually entailed heading out for beers a few days of the week, not always a heavy session but I found quite a few decent bars which became my regular haunts. I had a non Dutch colleague who had a Dutch boyfriend (they are now married) and she told me a story of their first date - when she was ready to go she still had half a drink left and her soon to be boyfriend made her finish it. I thought it hilarious but it emphasised how the Dutch are notoriously careful with their money. Not to an extent of being tight, they are very hospitable and will always offer a drink when amongst friends but they like to get what they pay for - if they've bought a drink then they expect it to be finished. I decided to implement this in my own life and to this day I still refer to it as "Amsterdam rules". 

This has lead to numerous situations where I've ordered an unfamiliar beer and not particularly liked it but struggled through and finished it before I can order another one. I do try to order new beers all the time and I've had some absolute horror shows - there was one that was so hoppy and bitter that it effectively turned my face inside out, a smoked beer that tasted like rancid bacon and an absolutely lovely German wheat beer that must rank as one of my favourite beers of all times. That's not a problem I hear you say - well it is when I tell you this beer absolutely disagrees with me, if I have more than half a pint of this beer I'm hugging the great white telephone in the bathroom all night, there's something in it that makes me ill and for the life of me I don't know what it is. 

But I've never broken my Amsterdam rules, until recently. I hate myself for it and I might have to hang up my beer drinking trousers in shame

I was out socially a week or so ago with a client in New York. I've been out for beers with this guy a few times and he's quite good fun to be around - he loves a beer almost as much as me and whenever I'm in town I usually arrange to meet up with him. We'd had a couple of beers when he suggested we order the seasonal speciality - pumpkin beer. Ok - I'm open minded and always keen to try out a new one I told him so we both ordered pints of it (if only they served it in smaller glasses European style my honour might have remained intact). The first mouthful nearly ended up getting spat back at the bar tender. It was fucking horrible. I asked whether the beer was off, unfortunately not was the reply. 

So it's actually meant to taste like that? Now I know Americans have very different tastes sometimes - everything seems to be full of sugar, syrup for breakfast and putting half a strawberry on a steak is just fucking weird. But this was beyond weird, it was the worst thing I've ever put in my mouth. That probably includes eating god knows what when I was a kid. How in sweet jesus could anyone actually enjoy this?

My drinking buddy is already half way through his and I've still got nearly a full pint left. Maybe if I get something really hot to kill my taste buds I can get it done 

But unfortunately I'm on my own here and I need to pull my socks up. I take another mouthful and swallow it. It's so vile I think I'm going to be sick. In fact it actually tastes like I've thrown up in my own mouth and swallowed it again. And I've still got 85% of a pint worth of sick to go. This is going to be hard. I seriously can't stand this - should I drop or spill my beer deliberately? 

Now if this were in London, where we often stand on the street outside of pubs whatever the weather, I would consider actually spilling my beer. But as we're in the US, which seems to be very backward in its public alcohol laws (NY is not too bad but doesn't one state have some retarded rule that all drinks have to be poured out of view of customers?) and we're inside I can't bring myself to do it. (As an aside is it obvious why I love the relaxed attitude to public consumption in Las Vegas - in my mind it's actually illegal to not be carrying an open container when walking down the strip. Perhaps when I come to power it will be). 

I struggle to sip a bit more of my beer but even the smell is now making me want to heave. My drinking buddy has now finished his pint and looks at me struggling and bursts out laughing "I think I've won, I don't think I've ever finished a beer before you. You must be ill" he jokes. This is only our 3rd or 4th beer so it's obvious that neither of us is drunk and can't handle another beer. 

I explain it's the god awful pumpkin nonsense that has no right to be called beer - for the love of god who thought that was a good idea? We both order another beer and I tell him about my Amsterdam rules and how I've tried to finish it but I'm not getting any sympathy - he tells me jokingly that in his mind I'll always be the guy that can't finish his beers. 

And just for Ace here's a picture of the offending beer

Plus I've since found another review so it's not just me that thinks it's rank


  1. Nice! How funny that the two beers surrounding "pumpkin puke" in the photo are A-O-K

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    2. Mrs AC jokingly boycotts Sam Adams as they are associated with the Red Sox and she’s a diehard Yankees fan.

      Reminds me of when I refused to buy French wine when they illegally banned the importation of British beef in the early 2000s. Very principled I hear you say - I should add that I worked for a French bank at the time!!