Tuesday 1 December 2009

Beer Hunter-Gatherer

We are innately tuned to be hunter-gatherers. It’s how we lived and it’s how we evolved. The manly job of the campfire community was to take their weapon out into the open plains and take down a wild animal to feed himself, his family and his friends. No catch, no dinner. And this is hard-wired into our nature – the desire to go out and get things, to provide, to feed, to consume.

We leave our caves and the warmth of the radiators, we go to the store, we hunt up and down the aisles, gathering and filling our basket with vegetables, cleaning products (home and personal) and various condiments before paying for it and taking it home: we still go out and we still bring stuff back, but there’s a whole middle bit which is often missing (handing over cash is not quite the same transaction as spearing a beast). Of course, there are those who do hunt their own food and cook it, but these are the exception not the rule and they do it more for sport than survival.

Could it be that this innate instinct now shows a version of itself in our search for good beer? Does the thrill of the chase satisfy us on a deeper level than sensory pleasure? Is walking into a great bar with some money in your pocket the 21st century equivalent of walking into the jungle with a freshly-sharpened weapon? In the pub you know you’ll find something, you just don’t know what – it might be a standard ale or it may be a fantastic beer that you’ve wanted to try for ages. In the jungle you may find a bony monkey or you might find a great, fat boar.

Everyone has that thing they love to go after and buy. Maybe it’s the latest album or game, new clothes, books, meals out, wine… going out to get these, the ‘thrill’ of the chase to the shop, the moment when your money is transferred, delight at taking something home or enjoying where you are. Some of this survival nature has evolved itself away from hunting to survive and into hunting things for personal enrichment and pleasure. The next time you go into a pub and look up and down the handpumps before choosing the beer you want, stop and think how similar that is to hiding behind a tree in a loincloth and throwing a spear at a wild animal. The need of the instinct has changed, but the enjoyment and satisfaction hasn’t.

Or something like that, anyway.

I got the picture from here. It also has some other fun beer-related pictures, although some are a little... primal.


  1. indeed.

    great post, keep up the great blog.

  2. You're supplying me with ideas. Nude Hunter-Collector sounds good for Fridays, as does I Post Draught Nudes.

  3. Professor Pie-Tin1 December 2009 at 21:39

    Back to reviewing beer luvvy.
    You're getting a bit too esoteric for one so new to the game!
    Unless, of course, you're blogging whilst pissed which is always a bad idea.

  4. "Is walking into a great bar with some money in your pocket the 21st century equivalent of walking into the jungle with a freshly-sharpened weapon?"

    If it's certain city centres on a Saturday night, you're more likely to need your freshly sharpened weapon in the bar.

  5. Cheers, B-Dang.

    Wurst, glad I can be helpful!

    Professor, I don't really review beer all that much...

    Zythophile, very good point! And chances are you'd catch yourself a great, fat boar ;)

  6. "Could it be that this innate instinct now shows a version of itself in our search for good beer?"

    I think you are letting your imagination run away with you a little here. It isn't the same at all, but I do like the bony monkey bit.

  7. My missus recently observed that my collectors' mentality seems to have shifted its focus from CDs to beer in recent months (for some reason). But I think she reckons it's got a lot more to do with my inner nerd than my inner cro-magnon...

  8. Bit of a tenuous link between the two, but thanks for the revelation that it's just me that wears a loin cloth to the pub! Might spend a few extra minutes at the wardrobe before leaving the house in future!

    Keep up the good work.

  9. Wow, that link is NOT SAFE FOR WORK!

  10. Tandleman, you know me, I like to be imaginative! I guess my spear missed on this one :)

    Chunk, that was a metaphor... ;) I don't have problems with people wearing loin clothes, but others might!

    Anon, yeah, sorry about that. I hoped the word 'primal' would be enough. Whoops!

    For further clarification... there are boobs in beer-related images on that link everyone!!

  11. ha ha amazing post, i know exactly what you mean. I often go out my way to shops which i know, in all likleyhood, will not have anything exciting or new. Yet i go in hope that one day i'll stumble across something i wasnt expecting. ive travelled countless miles and spent obscene amounts of money, in the hope of finding that elusive beer that i havent tried yet....it really is a jungle out there!

  12. Davie: Very true. The worst thing being when you go to a shop that you have really high expectations for and they end up having almost nothing ... Selfridges, I'm looking at you!