Sunday, 27 May 2012

Saison Dupont Dry Hop

I've been on sabbatical for about six weeks now, and although I'm keeping busy improving my French, this period is naturally evolving into a time for some reflection on life. Don't worry: I won't bore you with any pseudo-philosophical mid-lifery, and I'm not the kind of person who gets buckety about fleeting experiences I hope to go through before I kick it. I'm not living my life from a tick-list.

But I have thought about what advice I would give anyone who might ask. Not that anyone has asked, mind you, and not that anyone's likely to any time soon. You know, just in case sort of. I mean, well, no one ever asked me to write a beer blog either.

Here's the not-so-big idea: live your life so that, when you're older (that is, when you feel you're older), you wouldn't trade experience for youth. There you go: the sum of my 44 years of wisdom.

If I imagine some bizarre deal with [insert your preferred faith-based metaphysical entity or process] in which I'd be 20 again but lose all memory of my last 24 years, I'd say no way. While it would be tempting to return to the days of more hair and less back pain, if it demanded amnesia, I just couldn't go for it.

Of course, I'd change a lot of things in my past if I could, and I'd correct a lot of mistakes if that were possible. Quite a lot, actually. Don’t get me started... But in a straight swap of experience for youth, no. There are too many irreplaceable memories.

That again is not to say I go through life piling up deliberately selected experiences on some sort of must-do check-list. Things happened, some planned and some not, but it's all unavoidably me, and I wouldn't trade that away.

When it comes to Belgian beer -- as it so often seems to -- it's much the same. I don't have things I feel I absolutely must accomplish before I die, and there's no forward-looking list of bars I have to visit and brews I have to try. Still, there are a few things I've been meaning to do for a while. Think of it more as a job jar than a bucket list.

One such intention has been to get to Beer Circus, a celebrated beer joint in Brussels. Earlier this week, after only eight and a half years of living in this town and four and a half years of writing about Belgian beer, I finally got there.

It's a plain and simple place -- somewhat surprisingly so, given the hype around it, which is rather well-deserved when you note the beer selection. I had a Saison Dupont Dry Hop, which was crisp and clean, doing a no-nonsense job of cleansing the buccal area with a hefty dose of the bitter flower. Yum. I think I'll go back to Beer Circus soon, particularly as it's quite close to where my French courses are.

Convenience and coincidence deliver serendipitous experiences that lead to cherished memory. Thus endeth today’s lesson.

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