Beer, the shape of elegance
Since the worlds exists, the human being has found in alcohol a place to scape, to relax, and to forget for a little bit about reality. Alcohol makes us travel to that crazy fantasy in our head that has no place in the reality we all share. It is a fact: the humans like alcohol. First of all, I want to make it clear: it is not healthy to abuse of alcohol. Alcohol can also become our worst enemy. But a responsible use of alcohol can make you feel empowered. Anyways, it is certain, like it or not, alcohol is part of our lives since the eldest times. That is a reason why we have so many kinds of alcohol: we clearly were interested in it from the beginning.
Before coming to Belgium, I was never real interested in beer. I probably just tried it once from some of my friends glass. I always found it so sour and didn’t understand why people would enjoy it. When you start to drink in Spain and you try the beer, they will always say the same thing to you: “no one likes the beer the first time they try it, you have to get use to it”. That actually why I never understood why people drink it in the first place. Actually another common sentence they would say “una cerveza fresquita” [a cool beer], I think that is the reason why people drink beer in Spain.
When I planned my trip to Belgium, the people surrounded me told me about the tradition of beer in Belgium. I was never really conscious about that tradition until I arrived here. The first day I land of in Belgium, some online friends I met before coming told me to come to this bar and get to know each other. When I arrived and ask for the card, I found out a huge list of beers. All the group were already drinking from their glasses. All different glasses. From a group of twenty people, I found like seven to ten types of glasses. I read the card. I didn’t understand anything. All the names, the graduation of alcohol… it was all new to me. I might be an ignorant, but in that moment, I didn’t know what was a dark, blond or kriek beer. I just heard in my hometown order in the bar: “ehh, tráeme una rubia” [hey, bring me a blond]. I didn’t really understand that. I probably just thought it was a funny way to order a beer.
That night I tried my first real beer. The very first time I drink a whole bottle/glass of beer. If you are curious, I will tell you: it was a kriek. Yeah… you might just be thinking that that is not a real beer or that it is just a “girl beer”. Well, I liked it and not because I am a girl. Good think I started with the “easy one”, the one that is not a real beer, because otherwise I would have just stop my beer trip in that moment. I am going to say it: I like it. I always were a fruity person. And I found it the perfect combination between fruity and sour. I founded myself enjoying a beer, which I never thought I would. That night, when I arrived to my place, a little tipsy not used to drink in a normal night a beer, I called my parents and celebrate with them. “¡Me gusta la cerveza!” [I like beer], I said. A few weeks later, my mum’s best friend called me and celebrate that she finally got a niece who likes beer. Maybe you don’t know it, but when you go to tapas, what you order is either an Tinto de Verano [literally: summer red wine] or a beer. There is always a friendly fight between the tinteros (wine people) and cerveceros (beer people). Since then, I have given an opportunity to the different Belgium beers and enjoying doing a beer tour around the country.
Going to Bruges and to the Beer Museum is a mandatory stop I would recommend to anyone that comes to visit this beautiful country. Founding out all the flavours and the smells a beer could contain… I never could have imagined that. I use to think beer was simple. It is not. The museum shows us the whole history: origins, evolution, smells, tastes… I could really bond into the story thanks to the very well planning of the tour. The digital tour around the museum with the tablets makes you want to know more and be really interested about the story. I loved the quiz about beer, I wouldn’t think there would be so many questions to be answer about this theme. The stands with the smells were completely amazing: being able to touch, smell and feel the different elements that create the beer.
My favourite part of the whole museum was definitely the wall with the whole collection of bottle of beers. I think that was the moment when I truly realised how many types of beer there are. I even found some Spanish and Latino beer, I loved that. We were all together looking for our favourite beer, the beer we drink back home. It was beautiful moment.
I used to think wine was the elegant drink, the fancy one. Always picture beer more like a people drink, casual, normal, not exclusive at all. And maybe that is the great thing about beer, a drink that makes people bond with just hitting each others jugs. But I also found out that beer it has thousand of colours. Each kind of beer has its own kind of glass, is crazy, that they are all so special to have their own space to shape. Lucky me, I still have plenty of time in Belgium to keep doing my beer tour and found out which one is my favourite Belgian beer.