Tuesday 28 June 2011

Holiday Beer

A week today I’ll be lying on a hot Menorcan beach. After a very sunny Sunday and Monday, I wake up today and it’s been raining. It’s that kind of warm-air rain that only a sticky summer can have, rain which makes it feel muggy and tropical and needs a crack of thunder to lift the heaviness. With the prospect of more sun to come, both here and on holiday, my thoughts are far away and thinking about a two-week break involving not much more than lying in the sun, reading a huge pile of books, swimming in the clear blue sea and drinking lots of cold beer.

Holiday beer is some of the most fantastic beer in the world. Mythos is one of my favourite beers because it’s wrapped up in so many amazing memories. And it’s the memory and the moment which makes a beer special – any beer. If every beer you ever drank was alone and in a room painted white to be as unstimulating as possible then you’d soon stop drinking beer and you’d never enjoy it – beer is great because of the context we drink it in.

The best beers are the ones which carry a story with them and holidays create lots of stories and memories. It’s that cold beer on the hot beach reading that great book; the sea-fresh fish by the harbour, the people passing by, the beer you finished in seconds because you were so thirsty; the beer you drank as the sun was setting, making you feel on the edge of the world, relaxed; the beer you share with someone special where it’s about you and them and the beer is just the golden glass that sits between you.

The beers themselves are special in the moments you drink them. I’m sure we’ve all brought these beers home to recreate the summer magic on a grey autumn afternoon and it doesn’t work. There’s just something special about the combination of sunshine and local beer and the moment.

I always look forward to that first cold pint in a new place. This year it’ll probably be Estrella. It means the holidays are here. It means I can forget about swirling and sniffing and sipping and writing tasting notes and trying to work out what hops are in it and I can just drink it while on a warm beach with white sand in my toes, relaxing, reading or just staring at hot girls in their bikinis. Holiday beer rocks.

What holiday beers have you enjoyed the most and why were they so good?


  1. I recognized the beer in the photo at once, since I’m from Greece and Mythos is of course very well known here. But it is not a beer we can be proud of!
    Personally, I think it sucks!

    I strongly recommend next time you visit Greece to try any Septem beer (Septem Honey Golden Ale is fantastic!) or the beers from Corfu microbrewery.
    Corfu Real Ale Bitter is my favorite and I always enjoy it when I spend the summer in the island.
    Have a nice summer! :)

  2. Please email the name of the hotel with that view Mark!

  3. "And it’s the memory and the moment which makes a beer special – any beer. If every beer you ever drank was alone and in a room painted white to be as unstimulating as possible then you’d soon stop drinking beer and you’d never enjoy it – beer is great because of the context we drink it in."

    You know I believe this to be an absolute truth.

    This is so succinctly put, and such an accurate reflection of my own thoughts, that I think I'll put a permanent link from my blog to this post rather than ever trying to explain it myself.

    As for Mythos, it will always be associated with Rhodes for me. 30-degree weather in October, the most incredible scenery, idyllic towns and brilliant company.

    I too have drunk it since in the UK. That was a mistake.

    Great post!

  4. The holiday beer I enjoyed most, and the beer I'll be drinking again this september, is Phoenix Beer from Mauritius. In the same vain as Mythos its a nice 5% lager, that actually has a fair bit of bitterness but is really quenching under the relentless Mauritian sun.

    My girlfriend has family over there so we tend to use the local supermarkets where the food and drink is pretty cheap too.

  5. The Dark Chef - I tried the corfu microbrewery beers last year when on holiday. Only managed to get a hold of the Pilsner in Roda though and to be honest it wasnt anything special. On par with Mythos but much more expensive. Would love to try the ither beers in the range though!

    I was in Roda which is a tiny place so not a great deal of choice.

  6. Dark Chef - I LOVE Mythos but it's all for the context of the holiday. I've had some of the Craft Brewery beers but no others and I haven't been to Corfu before. Now that I know there's good beer I'll move it up the list!

    Mark - It was just a bar and not a hotel. No idea what it was called. Speak to Moggy as he's staying somewhere similar this year in Santorini!

    Chris - Cheers! It is an absolute truth and context rules everything. Which is also why Mythos tastes rubbish in England!

    Neil - Nice! I haven't been to Mauritius but I'm sure with the scenery, weather and the beer that it's amazing!

  7. the combination of sunshine and local beer

    Light-struck beer? No thanks!

    (Sorry. I'll get my... actually I won't need a coat... never mind...)

  8. My perfect summmer beer is Keo from Cyprus. An amazingly bitter pilsner, it suits the ridiculous temperatures perfectly! Reminds me of hot evenings and chilled out days by the beach.
    Even the Carlsberg there is nice - the factory there has won best carlsberg factory in the world 3 times and it tastes nothing like Carlsberg in England!

  9. During my honeymoon in the Azores, I drank nothing but Especial by Melo Abreu brewed in Sao Miguel. Never seen it before, never seen it since. If I had the cash, I'd fly back just for one half litre. In reality, it probably tastes like exactly like Sagres or worse. Estrella Galicia

  10. Dixie Beer! I spent two weeks exclusively drinking it while my wife and I tooled around New Orleans and Southern Louisiana on our Honeymoon. Dixie's a pretty avaeragel light lager, but it just felt right drinking it down there. There really isn't anything better than a table full of boiled crawfish and a bucket of Dixies!

  11. Can't beat greece for creating memories, where else would you find a beer geek drinking fizzy yellow stuff from an iced glass!!

    Although prague came pretty close, especially being able to pull your own pints from a font in the middle of the table.

    Other than that do holidays in the UK count? ive had some great beer memories whilst camping in the mountains.

    Fletch - you'd love this place we stayed in parga - check out my info here http://blog.andrewmogg.co.uk/tag/parga/

    this year we are staying here as its a celebration for our joint 30ths http://www.onrocks.net/

    last time we stayed on the other side of the island, was lovely but you didn't get the views.

    can't wait!