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I like a nice pint of ale. It’s refreshing, goes nicely with food, and gives a nice buzz about half-way through the glass because I’m such an unbelievable light-weight.

On a different level, I also really like the fact that there are SO many varieties, flavours and brands, and living in the UK puts me at arm’s reach – or a quick Amazon delivery’s reach – from a lot of them. Like some people enjoy collecting stamps, stickers or post cards (are any of these still a thing? I feel I left my definition of “collection” somewhere in the 80s), I enjoy collecting ales. Some of them are bottled, arranged in a geeky display reminiscent of boardgamers’ shelfies, but many are just notches in my [slightly fuzzy] memory whenever I try a new one.

Ale shelfie

It’s not so much about the taste, even. I know what I like, but I’m nowhere near expert enough to pinpoint a pint as “hoppy”, or recognise a beer by taste alone. The joy of it is in coming across an ale I haven’t tried before, with a cool name or a beautiful design, and adding it to my collection. It’s a bit like Pokemon Go, in a way.

Being a geek, I’ve also tried documenting the experience using an app called Untappd. Similar to Swarm (formerly known as Foursquare), which lets you check-in at different locations so your friends know where you are, and gives you pointless but fun badges, in Untappd you “check-in” the beer you’re currently drinking with your rating and review, so your friends know what a drunk connoisseur you are – AND you get pointless but fun badges! I haven’t actually checked anything in on Untappd in ages, but maybe it’s time for a pointless but fun comeback. My username is avivor if you want to Untap with me.

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