After missing the last couple of sessions due to various reasons, my heart sank when I saw the topic for this months topic. I’ve always associated breweriana with sad old men trading faded beer mats, or rather obsessive geeks who fill their houses with empty cans. I know this is a terrible generalisation, but the only stories you ever see in main stream media seem to back up this view, see this article as an example.
I’ve been racking my brains for the last few weeks trying to work out if I have any breweriana or not. To start with I was pretty sure I had none, but now I’m not so sure, here’s a list of what I think I’ve got around the place:
- Box of assorted beer festival pint glasses, each carefully wrapped up in paper to avoid damage
- Castlemaine XXXX beer mat that a friend mailed from Australia instead of a postcard
- Two Milton Brewery pump clips from the two poly-pins of beer we had at our wedding
- A, now, empty 1L beer bottle from U Fleků that I brought back on the plane, when you could still do that, after a weekend away in Prague
- A Thornbridge pint glass that I liberated from The Euston Tap, it was actually given to me by Tim Anderson, the winner of Master Chef when I asked if I could have one
- An empty 2.2kg tub High5 Energy Source, that is currently three quarters full of branded bottle caps
I started off thinking that I wasn’t a collector of any beery paraphernalia, but now I’ve listed everything I’m quite surprised by how much stuff I’ve got hanging around not doing anything. If I am a collector, it’s more of an unconscious collecting, rather than a proper planned out hobby. I doubt I’ll ever reach the geeky heights of people like banker Nick West, my wife would never let me for starters. I can see me hoarding to occasional item though, especially when it has a bit of sentimental value.
I’ve just remembered that I also have one of those finger shredding BrewDog key rings. Plus I have a Flying Dog Raging Bitch and a Brooklyn Lager keg clip, which I’m going to turn into key rings.
As I read everyone else’s contributions to this months session, I keep remembering things I’ve got, or things I’ve done in the past. During lunch I remembered the key rings, see the edit above, then reading a tweet from BeerReviewsAndy, I remembered that I also have empty bottles of BrewDog’s Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink The Bismark!. They sit on a shelf in my shed, the one I do all my homebrew in, probably as a reminder to not be sucked in by marketing again.
Then when I read Brian Stechschulte’s contribution, I remembered that I used to collect beer bottle labels when I was a student at university. I did it to remind me what beers I’d drunk, I had quite a collection and was even scanning them into stick on my website. That was way back in 1996 and it’s not something I’ve done for years. I did find a load of the labels last Autumn, they were stuffed in between the pages of a book on how to learn Italian. Looking at them brought back lots of memories, like the time I shared a couple of bottles on a train from Milano to Padova with an Italian solider on his way home for some leave.
I said earlier that I didn’t think I had any Breweriana and that I didn’t collect anything. I find it quite funny that I’ve actually been collecting breweriana of one form or another for practicality my entire beer drinking life without realising it.