On Saturday, at the Beat the Barrel race, I realised once again that presentation matters when you drink.
Although I certainly won’t turn up my nose at wine in a coffee mug or whisky in a plastic bottle, it is just so much better when it is consumed from the proper vessel.
Chugging beer from a 10 litre plastic bag stuffed inside a soggy cardboard box, which is what I did yesterday, isn’t quite the same as drinking (or chugging) it from a beer glass or bottle.
Not that I’m complaining – this was a race and the rules forbade decanting beer into glasses, so we had to drink straight from the bag, as fast as possible. And if you were going to be squeamish about taking turns with four other people to suck on a little plastic tap, then you won’t have enjoyed it at all.
This was a relay race with 5km laps and the “barrel” (said bag in said box) was the baton. Teams start with a full baton and must finish with an empty one. Our team, The Drinkstrong Foundation, ran and chugged beer as fast as we could, and at least we didn’t come last.
I ran the first lap and, with that out of the way, I was able to put my body on the line by doing more than my share of chugging at the end of each lap to lighten the baton as quickly as possible.
Teams employed various running and drinking strategies. Some strapped the beer box to the runner’s back, others had baby push-chairs, and others carried theirs hammock-style in a towel. Some drank the beer as they ran, others did it at the end of each lap. Some drank from the box, others took the bag out of the box for ease of handling. The size of the head on 10 litres of beer after it had been bounced about on the back of a runner for 5km is quite impressive.
The Drinkstrong Foundation: Lara, Maryke, Nick, Bellend and Charlotte.
The beer was provided by Brüpond Brewery and their premises was the race HQ. At times it felt quite surreal, standing in a quad on an industrial estate, on a grey winter’s day, surrounded by people in strange clothes who are taking turns to drink brown liquid with lots of foam on top from taps in huge plastic bags.
One of the industries fronting onto the quad was a church specialising in bargain-basement salvation. I don’t know what the churchy types who came and went there during the day thought of all this drinking and general mayhem. They probably had a special prayer service the next morning to exorcise the area, and a laying-on of hands for those affected by this terrible sight.
More pictures of strange people drinking beer