Visit the Cooking Lager site

I have a short question. Does the following experience make me a beer geek? I kinda hope not, but you never know. I’ve been reading beer blogs for well over a year and some of it I suspect has been sinking in. I’ve been necking none cooking lager from time to time and even dare I say it enjoying it.

Occasionally I travel abroad. Recently I’ve been for a week abroad to sunny Spain with the lovely squeeze & a short business trip to Germany as part of my never quite entirely successful plan to work not “for the man” but for myself. On a previous trip I got some work by way of an old colleague and upon my last trip was delivering the deliverables to his direct boss. A nice enough chap who was pleased with the work I’d done and kindly wanted to offer me more work.

The business meeting was a tad unusual in taking place in a Sauna. Not something I’d ever done before, but after the initial eyebrow raising of being told in English “we go into the sauna naked, everyone is naked” after my host assumed I hadn’t understood him the first time. I had, but wrongly assumed that you wear a towel or shorts or something. I’d seen saunas on films and no one was sat there with their cock out in the film I saw. A scene from “Team America: World Police” briefly entered my mind. You know the one, the one were the actor assumes he’s going to be asked to go blow someone in a limo, but I made the presumption it was all above board and went along with it.

Whilst culturally beyond my northern working class expectations of life, I found it to be indeed all above board. The searing heat of the 90 degree room took some getting used to and being told to rub salt and honey into myself wasn’t really my idea of fun, but business is business and work is work, and actually when everyone else is naked it really isn’t a problem. Even the presence of naked ladies didn’t give me an embarrassing boner. Overall it was quite a relaxing way of discussing his future requirements and the massage at the end where a stern East German shot putter type pummelled by back into putty was strangely enjoyable.

With business concluded, eating and getting pissed was in order. A Weiner snitzel and a couple of weissbiers did the trick and I felt myself slightly smug and pleased with myself. This chap was alright. The sauna was a bit weird, but I’d got more work, got fed, got a beer or three down me and so long as I went with the flow the deal was unlikely to be unsealed. The whole seeing each other’s cocks business whilst we sat in a steam room sweating like rapists could be put in a corner of my mind never again to be accessed.

As the evening progressed my old colleague turned up, alongside some of the staff from the office I’d either spoken to on the phone or emailed and the evening was turning into one of those enjoyable sort of do’s where you are enjoying yourself but still conscious that you wish to maintain some sort of professional reputation and thus don’t really want to let your hair down.

The evening took itself to a bar called Sausalitos. A Mexican cocktail trendy bar type place where happy hour was progressing and it was time for “jumbo cocktails”. One thing on the menu I had to try though was a “tequila beer”. Now there is a brand here in Blighty called Desperados, which looks similar. I can’t tell you whether it’s the same sort of stuff as I’ve never had one but for some reason I had to try a beer I hadn’t tried before. It tasted neither of Tequila or Beer. Like an odd tasting shandy.

That’s a form of beer geekery I’m thinking? That it is time to worry. Seeing a beer and “having to try it”. By now my colleagues were as half cut as I was and the boss chap in particular appeared to disprove of my choice of grog. He explained to me that I was drinking crap in the home of the greatest beer in the world. I saw no reason to argue with a bloke offering me work so I asked him what the greatest beer in the world was.

It was Kloster Andech's Dopplebock by all accounts. My excuse for the decisions I made subsequently were that I was pissed. Not that I am a beer geek desperate to try this beer. Nope, I was pissed. The upshot was I delayed my flight by 24 hours, stayed in the hotel another night, my new best mate took a day off work, and we got a train to Herssching, hiked up a big hill for a hour, then drank a skin full including a couple of Helles, Weiss’s & the fabled Dopplebock. Was it the greatest beer in the world? It was alright I suppose. Better than the tequila beer.

So does that qualify me as being a bona fide genuine beer geek? Hiking up a hill for an hour (the sign said it was 40 minutes, but it wasn’t, it was an hour) in order to drink a beer I’d been told was the world best?

Please tell me I am not. That normal people do that sort of thing too. That I'm am not destined to grow a beard, wear sandals and refer to keg bitter as "chemical piss"