Hunting for Beer

Believe it or not, I am not much of a drinker. Certainly I enjoy a taste every now and then, but I wouldn’t even classify myself as a regular drinker. More of a social drinker. I don’t have anything against drinking, but I just don’t find myself regularly engaging in it.

There are a few reasons for this. Partly it is because I am not so much of a fan of getting drunk. I’m already loud and gregarious. Drinking doesn’t really add much to that mix except dizziness and possibly waking up feeling sluggish and dehydrated. Of course, having only a single drink wouldn’t have that great an effect, but I find myself not doing that so much either. This brings me to the other reason.

I have a hard time finding things I like.

I like a nice, smooth red wine. I’d prefer it to not be overly dry. That is not an easy thing to find here in Japan. Living in Tokyo I am sure there is a place to go where I can spend a good amount of money to find wine I like. And on special occasions I try and put in that effort. But if I were to just pop into a super market or even a local liquor store, finding a quality bottle of red wine is fairly unlikely.

When it comes to beer, I’m also cursed by my preferences. Lager is perhaps the most popular beer style in the world. Living in Japan means you are likely to never be more than a five minute walk from a quality lager. Unfortunately, I’d rather have a cold cool crisp glass of water. Not really meant to be a dig as I genuinely like water. I just don’t like lager.

I like darker ales and stouts. And I live in Japan. Generally speaking, stouts are hard to come by and if there is a dark beer to be had it will almost always be a Guinness. I don’t want to speak badly of Guinness. Let’s just say I want a little more variety.

As I said, I’m not much of a drinker, so it doesn’t come up to much. However, I’m newly back from America. Even in my suburban town the variety of products available boggles the mind. As expected, I found something I really liked. Now, I want to find it and drink it over here. Partly because, as I said, I really liked it.

For the curious, the particular beer in question is the Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout. I suppose there is something funny that a beer from the UK will now remind me of my home in America, but taste is a funny thing. Not to mention it is an excellent drink.

But there is more. There is something about the simple aspect of enjoying a drink that I shared with my parents, that we all enjoyed, while I am living so far from my first home that makes me feel closer. It makes me feel normal. There is something comforting about filling a glass and sitting in a comfortable chair. Taste and smell unite and everything doesn’t feel so far away.

So, I’m searching for a beer. But in reality, I’m searching for a way to feel like I am truly at home.


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