Duvel and Chimay at Chambar
I hardly ever drink beer. Sure, there's the occasional beer at a barbecue. And I generally have one at a baseball game. Ok, sometimes I accept one when I'm watching a baseball game on TV. And a while back I figured out that if I find myself in a really bad restaurant where there isn't a single tempting food, a pint of beer can be a fairly reasonable dinner. Especially with a bag of peanuts, or some French Fries. It's filling.
The beer dinner strategy should be reserved for the most desperate times. The last time I had to use it was last year in Vancouver, when my sister and I found ourselves on the UBC campus after the semester was over. It's a huge place, and pretty eerie when it's down 35,000 people. We were spending the night in dorms. We had no transportation, and the only restaurant open and serving was 'The Pit'. Yes. That's right, it was called 'The Pit'--not exactly inviting. That night I had 2 pints of beer for dinner. But that was mainly because they didn't have any peanuts.
Sleeve of Russel Pale Ale at the Sylvia
Anyway, my point is that normally I don't drink much beer. But this week in Vancouver, I think I had a beer nearly every day, even though I ate at good restaurants where I didn't need to resort to my beer dinner strategy. Partly that's because we ate at a lot of izakaya restaurants, thanks to our attempts at frugality, and also to Gourmet.com's list of 8 great izakayas in Vancouver--in those places, beer was the obvious drinking choice.
Then there was the night we ate at Chambar, a Belgian restaurant (owned by the same people who run Cafe Medina), where a 2 page beer list (nearly all Belgian) made it seem like a good idea to have a pint with our moules frites.
But I think one of the main reasons I've been drinking so much beer is because I've been walking a lot. And brisk walking, in warm or cold weather, is conducive to an afternoon glass of beer. It's refreshing.
Pilsner Urquell with Chinese/Czech friends
A couple years ago I went on a weeklong walk on the Lingepad in the Netherlands with my parents. There was a pleasant regularity to the walk--tea mid-morning, and a small glass of beer in the afternoon. I'm thinking that if my Friday afternoons are already given over to mochas, perhaps I should make room for a walk and a beer one other afternoon a week. Just to be disciplined.