The ongoing buffoonery, hostility and zealotry on beer Twitter has been grinding me down of late. In response I decided to organise a social media-free bottle share which took place at the venerable Caps and Taps last Wednesday, The premise was simple: guests were asked to bring a bottle or two for sharing and were encouraged not to produce their phones/devices for the duration of the evening. I wanted people to talk to each other – not about beer necessarily (although there was plenty of that), just to get to know each other better. We numbered 15 all told, and to further enhance the positivity of the occasion guests were asked to donate a minimum of £5 to Camden foodbank (we raised £100 in total).
It’s important to say that as well as a charitable donation, this was a political act. There is a cohort of people on beer Twitter who wish to eschew political discussion, and who believe we should ‘stick to the beer’. However, you can no more separate politics from beer than you can from any other cultural sphere. The number of foodbanks in this country has risen in tandem with the current government’s policy of austerity, and while foodbanks are a positive and necessary response they are not the long-term solution.
The evening was a success by all accounts, as the conversation flowed and much laughter ensued. The guests were (Facebook) friends on this occasion, but I’d like organise more and open it up beyond my immediate social circle. I don’t know whether I have the wherewithal to do so, but should this burst of energy and positivity endure you’ll hear abut it here first.