To my aunt there is no such thing as moderation among drunks. Men are either teetotalers or perennially hiccuping dipsomaniacs. The best way to make her laugh would probably be to read to her the job description of a brew master.
I am not sure how she would have reacted if she was shown the beer brewing friars of Belgium.
The cassock wearing monks prayed, brewed and went to heaven. Come to think of it their lifestyles were remarkably similar to some gentlemen, rednecks I think they are called by some, I came across in Arizona. It could have been this novel combination of the pious and the prohibited brew that added to the experience.
Brugge was the land of beer. I like to think there are bigger and better and beerier lands but for now I’ll confer that title to Brugge. I might not even get to Brussels without changing my mind. But that is what you get for believing a drunk’s tale.
The Trappist’s Tale
After a day of walking through the quaint streets of Brugge sampling chocolates we sat down for dinner in an eye-poppingly scenic spot. Surrounded by churches, ramparts and canals I felt a tinge of remorse. I was marring that photogenic vista. I was acutely aware of the futile attempts photographers made to exclude us from that landscape as they were trying to frame the shot. Oh no, we were right in the middle of it. Our faces a combination of embarrassed helplessness and heavenly bliss from the golden fries with which we were stuffing our faces.
To get in the mood I asked our waiter for a true Trappist’s brew.
His suggestion did not disappoint. I have never since chanced upon a more enjoyable way of inebriating. I might have volunteered to bait the snow white swan that was swimming around looking for titbits underneath us.
The canals of Brugge slowly starting tilting without the water overflowing their banks. The golden fries nimbly ducked every time I reached for them. First they moved right. Amused I followed them. They slipped left. Annoyed I chased them. I implored everyone around to help me. I was being humiliated. All I wanted was a bite of food. And a swig of the beer. Ah yes,the beer. It wasn’t mobile because I had never let go of the glass. I brought it to my face and tippled.
What a naiishhh ashmashphere I volunteered. Brooshh. Even the name was designed to be pronounced with…panasshhh.
It all dissolved into a mellow, mellifluous dining experience. An experience somehow only I find pleasure in reliving. It brings a scowl when I bring it up with my fellow diner. “I learnt where not to take you” is all she says.
Trappist or not, exclusive or not, Belgian or not, a lesson was learnt. And forgotten.
Last week when I was walking through crowded Manhattan I saw the exact same beer in a case. If I needed a refresher of that wisdom I knew exactly where to head to.