I feel that you and I have gotten to know each other well, but there is one thing about me that I haven’t talked about yet.
While I find myself to be a talented writer, I have failed to capture the words to describe how much I love, adore and treasure beer.
Growing up in Germany, beer has always been present in my life. I remember my first ever taste was after a dinner party my parents threw, and when everyone went home I walked to my mother’s almost-empty glass and had the last sip. I was only 3 or 4 years old, but I remember it so vividly, and knew right then that beer and I will be together forever.
The first time I had my first whole beer was not long after. With half of my family being from Italy, we spent many summers down there, driving around the coast and travelling through this most beautiful of all countries. It so happened that we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, and I was very thirsty. We had finished all our water, so the only thing that was chilled and available in the cooler were cans of beer, called ‘Schenken’ – some cheap Austrian pisswater, really.
Since we weren’t near a town yet, my mom felt the best solution was to give her 6 year old a can of beer, so that I may stay hydrated in the 30-something heat. I’m sure she kinda regrets this today.
It was the most beautiful thing I had ever tried. It was refreshing, a little bit fizzy, golden and foamy. It was nothing like anything I had tried before. Even better, halfway through this drink, I was feeling so incredibly happy, and beautifully sleepy. It was heaven.
When I was 8, my sister was already 16. After a school trip to Berlin, she came back with a local beer coming in different flavours, such as raspberry and the good old German ‘Waldmeister’. It was red or green, and smelled of bubble gum. It’s called ‘Berliner Weiße’.
There was a big misunderstanding around this drink – my mother didn’t really realise that it was beer, she thought it was just a fizzy soft drink from Berlin. So she let me have it, without limits.
My sister on the other hand thought my mom was well aware of the fact that it was beer, and was a little surprised that she allowed me to drink it.
I recognised that this was a rare loophole and took advantage of the collective confusion: in only a few days, I had litres of it. It was awesome.
Unfortunately the two of them noticed my odd behaviour and talked it out. They agreed that none of them was happy for me to drink it, and realising that they had a borderline alcoholic 8-year old in the house, they put an end to to my beery paradise.
But my parents recognised that I loved beer more than I could ever love them, so on special occasions they let me have some. Such as my 12th birthday, or on new years eve. When I was 13, it started to become my regular party drink (we start partying early in Germany). I realised that beer makes me giggle and trip and fall into bushes, which makes me giggle even more.
Memorable was the year 2004 – my very first Guinness. It was on a school trip to Dublin, and I had never heard of Guinness before until my teachers started raving about it. I was 16 at the time, which in Germany is legal drinking age – not in Ireland though. But that didn’t stop me; I was going to try it. In the Guinness brewhouse, a complimentary Guinness is given to each adult but people like me were allowed some coke or lemonade. “Screw this!” I thought, and I simply stole my Guinness from the counter when the bartender turned around for a second.
Oh what a creamy, earthy delight. While I had established a solid alcohol threshold, I was completely hammered by the time I finished my first ever pint of stout. So hammered, that I stole another one. My teachers thought this was all rather hilarious. Interestingly, a different set of teachers a few years earlier also found my beer drinking habits amusing and watched me illegally score delicious beers on a schooltrip to Tuscany when I was only 14.
Since then I must have tried hundreds of beers, festively and drunkenly.
Admittedly, my love for beer has been the one thing between me and Naomi Campbell’s body. It also doesn’t give me much lady-cred. But it sure makes me happy.
So I’d like to thank my parents for being a little too lose on the alcohol rules, also thank all my irresponsible teachers for having me entertain them drunkenly on school trips, and my sister for always getting me under-aged beer. Delicious!