Mindfulness. It’s a pretty awesome skill to have and something that everyone can easily apply to their everyday routines, but it’s equally just as easily overlooked, especially when we’re busy rushing about at work or aimlessly scrolling through Twitter or Facebook.
I often try to be mindful in my everyday- be it my first cup of coffee, the journey to work, the weather conditions (I work outside for the most part), my lunch, or that brew I crack open at the end of the day. Being mindful is taking the time to place yourself in the present and acknowledge it- the warmth of the sun, the different birdsong, the intensity of the coffee beans. Overall it’s a way to focus, relax, feel connected and be aware of how you’re feeling in that particular moment.
If this is all sounding a bit too hippy, yoga and Buddhist for your liking let me say one word: BEER (stick with me, I am going somewhere beer-related with this)
Being mindful is key to how you learn what beers you like. It’s the ability to distinguish fruity from floral or pick out the the different citrus flavours in the hops- grapefruit or lemon? It’s the way we pick out nuances of coffee, chocolate or smoke in a rich, roasted dark beer or the way we can detect that promised hint of spice in the finish. It’s the time we take to detect these individual characteristics that make up the whole experience of drinking that beer.
Cracking open a brew at the end of a hard day at work is commonplace, it’s a way to wind down & relax and employing mindfulness to the proceedings will ultimately make that experience all the more rewarding. Take it a step further and taking the time to pick out the difference between grapefruit and pineapple, chocolate or coffee, will aid not only in the relaxation the beer inspires at the end of the day but also in pairing the beer with food and taking it further still you can really figure out how the beer makes you feel (other than tipsy). Is it a light, crisp lager that makes you feel refreshed, or maybe you’re supping a stout with a rich, robust, smokey quality that’s perfect for taking you on a trip down memory lane- beer is a great accompaniment to nostalgia.
Being mindful is also about keeping an open mind, if you didn’t enjoy a beer as much as you thought you would then maybe your head just wasn’t in it (no, not literally). It’s the skill you need when drawing your own conclusion about a beer.
There’s a brew to suit every mood and being mindful i.e understanding how you feel in that moment, can be the key to getting maximum enjoyment from your beer. Sitting in a pub garden in the early spring, on the first truly warm day of the year, feeling the warmth of that sun, hearing the life of the birds in their song and breathing in the fresh spring air certainly calls for a light, hoppy beer with fresh, floral aromas, rather than a rich stout.
I’m not writing this to encourage people to just drink but rather to aid in the way we approach the beverage we choose to go for. Being aware of how you feel should play a part in the decision as to which beer you decide to drink, this in-turn will effect your ultimate enjoyment of the beer which will again influence you subsequent mood. All of this happens whether you’re aware or not, but being aware of this process and aware throughout can certainly be a decider between liking a beer and loving a beer. Pair the beer to your mood or to the situation/environment and discover the absolute most that beer has to offer.