A lot of people have rules of thumb about when in the day it is appropriate to start drinking. 5:30 or 6 pm seems to be the general rule with the occasional beer with lunch. But, are there good reasons for having a beer before noon? I did some casual asking around, posted the question on a couple of social media sites and came up with a few justifications people use for some ante meridiem indulgence.
If you are a flop on the beach or sink into a hammock kind of vacationer, there is nothing wrong with cracking a beer open to help you get your relaxation on. Most of us only have one or two weeks a year that we can use for actual vacation. Oh, sure, we might have more “vacation days” than that on the books back at the office but, let’s face it, many of them go down the tubes of life obligations. So, on those precious few real vacation days, why not have a beer with breakfast?
One might be tempted to lump holidays with vacation days but they are very different. Consequently, getting permission to have that a.m. beer is very different on holidays than on real vacation days. There is nothing relaxing about holidays. In fact, there’s actually quite a lot of pressure.
If you are playing host then you have the pressure of preparing that perfect traditional meal, making sure the house is ready for company, hoping that the nieces, nephews and/or grandkids break fewer lamps this year than they did last and generally entertaining your guests.
If that’s not an excuse for morning lager, I don’t know what is.
If you’re not playing host, then you probably had to drive quite a distance to get to your holiday destination. Packing the kids, the gifts - if it’s that kind of holiday - and yourself in the car at 4am was no fun. Once you finally arrive you are with your family.
Now, we all love our families but, well, you know how they can be. If your uncle isn’t spouting off his insane political opinions, your mom is making poorly concealed remarks about whose fault your divorce was or your cousin is telling you about his latest promotion and how he’s now making twice as much as you. Please, in the name of everything holy, have a beer!
Whether you are tailgating or just warming up for the Sunday game on TV at home, everyone gets a pre-noon pass for drinking a beer with the game. Whatever your game day food ritual is – hot wings, cold cuts, chili dogs, pizza, etc. – these foods practically require beer so don’t be ashamed if the sun hasn’t reached it’s zenith yet before you decide to open one.
There is a bar here in my small town of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It’s called the Recovery Room and it’s a proper dive bar. The thing that makes it remarkable is that it is one of the few places in town that serves alcohol and is open 24 hours. I’m not a connoisseur of dive bars although I get the appeal. This one definitely has all the trappings. It is dark, dank and smells of stale cigarette smoke and sadness. The entire front wall is glass windows but somehow the sunlight is unable to penetrate, it is really quite fascinating.
The clientele are mostly what you would expect, somber looking men of indeterminate age with deeply wrinkled faces and eyes that never seem to focus. All the women seem to be very tired, chain-smoking 57 year-olds.
That is unless you go in a little before 8 most mornings. Then you’ll see, in addition to the regulars, a collection of tired but jocular people of various ages, most of them wearing scrubs. They will have just gotten off work from the graveyard shift at the hospital and have stopped in for a beer or three before pouring themselves into bed. After hearing a few of their war stories about the nut-bag patients or the internal politics of the hospital staff, you realize that these people of the best excuse of anyone for having a beer as early in the morning as they damn well please!
This is the special homebrewers’ exception. Nothing else is going to happen on brew day, especially if you are an all grain brewer. Dragging out the equipment, sterilizing it, setting it up and, later, tearing it down, cleaning it and storing it takes so much of the day that it can seem like the brewing itself is secondary to cleaning and equipment maintenance. So, starting the day off with a homebrew from your last batch to remind you why you’re doing this is fine by me.