Back to 1993 and we had sped around the Old Town of Jerusalem following our impromptu game of football (See earlier post Jerusalem United).
We had been on the go for fifteen hours and were footsore and over-heating, so decided the other biblical sites could wait for the next day.
It is quite rare that drinking a beer creates a never to be forgotten memory, but unbeknown to us we were about to consume what remains as our number one beer of all time.
The fact that this was a bottle of lager each makes this even more remarkable for two sworn real ale & dark beer fans.
To us, lager is a gassy and inferior product to be drunk reluctantly when nothing else is available. Drinking more than two ever was virtually impossible for us, far too much carbon-dioxide. What has to be said in lager’s favour though is that as a thirst quencher, it takes some beating.
Right next to the Lion Gate stood a small cafe with white plastic tables & chairs adorned with shady coca cola parasols. Parched as we were, we both thought “drink stop” in unison. We therefore plonked ourselves down on the garden furniture and were brought menus in an instant.
Heading straight for the drinks page, we were dismayed to see that there were soft drinks only available, so decided it would reluctantly have to be coke. As it happens, Hamish cannot drink coke as the sugar content makes him hyper, so as has become the norm over the years he requested a coke light. Fortunately as it turned out they did not have any.
Hamish then thought for a moment what alternative he could have, surprisingly coming out with, “I don’t suppose you have any beer?”
The short Arabic waiter/owner beamed back and responded that he thought he may have one. He then proceeded to delve into his chest refrigerator and rummaged round for a few minutes. He emerged triumphantly with two bottles of different brands of lager, the name and origin of which sadly now escapes me.
Not only that, heroic Faisal produced two perfectly frosted beer glasses and a dish of peanuts. We did not even consider asking how much the treats would cost us. He could have asked twenty dollars a bottle right then and we would have paid it.
Despite our raging thirst, we slowly poured the lagers so that froth was kept to a minimum. This was a beer to savour. “Cheers mate,” had barely left my lips before I took five large gulps of the amber-coloured liquid. It was like sex in a bottle or as Hamish described it, ‘a beergasm’.
As critical as I often am about the virtues of gassy blonde lager v. the infinitely more pleasurable flatter varieties, it has to be said that it hit the spot absolutely perfectly.
As mentioned, this was then and still is my greatest ever beer experience. So dry were our mouths from the heat & dust of the day, that the amber nectar soothed the throat and swept away the desert that lay within.
If Bacchus was the god of wine, Faisal, stood in his white apron and sandals with a satisfied grin on his face, was swiftly appointed as the god of beer!