The summer has now started to slip into the past and the beer gardens are starting to empty into the warm pub on an evening.   The wave of summer drinks and summer fruit cider variations has passed and the winter versions will soon be entering our pubs fridges with cranberry versions of anything possible being aggressively marketed.   The real ale pumps go slightly more the darker side and you get the more comforting beers replacing some of the lighter summer brews that the accompanied the long warm evenings.

Autumn brings in, to me the best season of the year, the landscapes become a full palette of colours rather than the blanket of green, and we start to get the sunrises and sunsets as you go to and from work.  To me it just seems more natural to go to the pub when it is dark on an evening, the draw is different to summer, where we go to enjoy the outdoors over a pint, come autumn we want the comforts of a warm pub, cosy fires and a hearty pint.  Fast forward a couple of months and nothing beats entering the pub from a cold winters evening and shedding the outside garb.

The pub at best is a home from home and never is this more important when the choice of evening activities is restricted by light or weather conditions. It is where the troubles of life are temporarily left outside like a dog tied to the pub garden fence.  Whatever has happened that day can be allowed to escape as the beer goes down or at least give you time to put it into some sort of perspective before dealing with it later.   A chat with a fellow drinker my illicit a solution not previously considered.   The fact you are making yourself step back and possibly sharing it with others opens up your viewpoint.

Alcohol as with all drugs, legal or illegal, are designed to do just this, take the rough edge off day to day life, remove you from the hustle and bustle short term.   Frankly there is no point in humans inventing a narcotic if it just leaves you where you were before.  Look at the musicians who wrote some of their best stuff when they were pretty far removed via their drug of choice.  I’ll not try to sum this up better, so I’ll leave it one of my heroes, the late great comedian Bill Hicks, who unbelievably has been now dead for over half of my lifetime, having died in 1994.

hicks-3“You see, I think drugs have done some good things for us. I really do. And if you don’t believe drugs have done good things for us, do me a favor. Go home tonight. Take all your albums, all your tapes and all your CDs and burn them. ‘Cause you know what, the musicians that made all that great music that’s enhanced your lives throughout the years were rrreal f[e]cking high on drugs. The Beatles were so f[e]cking high they let Ringo sing a few tunes.”

Down time in life is important, the pub or bar is probably one of the main ways we in the UK and Europe do that, and just because we are apparently doing nothing over a beer, just think how many relationships, friendships or business connections are forged at the bar of the local pub.   When a village loses it last pub, people say that it has lost the heart of the community and they are not far wrong, even if it was underutilised by the local community.  I’ve found numerous trades people through word of mouth from fellow drinkers, got work myself, made friends I’ve had for many years.  I even met my wife at a drinking establishment.  It may not be true for all people, but certainly since I was 17 years old, the pub, whether it was in Leicester, Coventry, Aberdeen or Halifax, has been the pivot point for activities outside of the home.  It probably hasn’t been for best health wise, but its certainly kept me sane at times.

The phrase “You know what I fancy a beer” is the brains fire escape to just chill out for a bit, and I’ll be honest and say if I have an hours window where the family is busy with other things, I’ll quite happily pop out for a couple of pints.   Beer may have its problems, but remember it can also find you a solution.