Is it already 5 days I've been here?
I rise late. Fuck it. I've been up at 7:45 every day. And spent 8 hours judging beers. Not drinking. You actually drink bugger all while judging. Well, most people do. When I get one I like, I finish the bastard off. It's only going to get thrown down the sink otherwise.
It's noon by the time I troll up. Kristen has already started his talk on Stout. He notices me walk in and does his best to embarrass me. "We thought you might be dead."
He flicks back to a slide with a picture of me with an eye patch photoshopped on. Then gets everyone to sing happy birthday. It is my birthday, but it's still pretty weird. At least I have a beer in my hand. A very nice mosaic IPA. Things could be worse.
I'm tempted to shout comments out a couple of times, but manage to restrain myself. I'm talking later. And I know what a vindictive bastard Kristen is.
Thankfully the lectern is blocking my view of the bottom half of his body. Meaning I can actually see the slides without being dazzled by his socks.
Stan is up next. I'm sitting next to John Robertson. "Do you fancy a beer?" "Is the cath a popolic?" I fetch us a couple of mosaic IPAs.
Stan's talk is dead, dead interesting. Lots of numbery things, which is what I love. It's about Belgian monastic brewing. I'm not tempted to shout comments this time. Here's an odd thing. Despite mostly drinking Belgian beer. Well one Belgian beer, St. Bernardus Abt. I know very little about Belgian beer. I quite like that. Doesn't spoil my illusions.
I’m sitting next to John Roberts and keep nipping out to bring us Mosaic IPA. I’m a sociable sort of bloke. And often unaccountably thirsty.
When Stan is done, I feel like some lunch. I ask John: "Fancy a pisco sour lunch?" "Do shits bear in wood?" We head off with Stan and Jeff Stuffings. As we try to leave we're directed to another room where there's a beer tasting. We bug out but Stan stays.
We head over to Cafe Bao. I've had no breakfast so I'm looking forward to some ace tapas. And some pisco sours, obviously. The first Peruano I had yesterday was too sweet for my taste. But I've come to like them. As the barman said, they're bigger and boozier. That's got me sold.
As we're tucking into ossabuco bao, the conversation turns to New England IPA. Talk to just about any professional brewer (even ones that brew them) off the record and they'll tell what a steaming pile of crap they are. No-one thinks they'll be around for long. We'll see.
About five piscos in - I'm thirsty because I had no breakfast - John gets a text message. Does he know where Ron is? I'm on at 15:30. My watch says 15:20. But since the back fell off on the flight over, it's been running slow. It's actually 15:40.
"I thought we were on South American time?"
"We thought you might be dead." Kristen says. He seems to have an unnatural interest in my demise.
My talk starts slowly. Then the piscos kick in and there's a good deal of swearing and bad jokes. I've no idea how long it takes. To avoid dehydration, I've two beers. That nice mosaic IPA.
Despite my playing nice earlier, Kristen interrupts a couple of times. Bastard.
There's a panel after my talk. Me, Stan and John. Moderated by Kristen. There's just time to pick up some more Mosaic IPA before we start. John has warned me that Kristen wants to wind me up. So I'm deliberately - and untypically - dead reasonable. That'll teach the twat.
Day's duties done, it's time for fun. "Fancy a pisco, John?" "Do catholics shit on bears?"
As we're waiting to cross the road, someone says hello from one of the cars. Who the hell was that? ""It's the driver who picked us up at the airport" John tells me. How weird. What are the chances of that? "I've already bumped into him another time." John tells me. Turns out that he lives just opposite Bao Bar.
It all starts getting hazy after that. We take an Uber somewhere. Then another to Flannery's. Where there’s a Patagonia Malt event.
For some reason I've lost my sense of balance.
"Do you want to go back to the hotel?" John asks. It seems like a good idea. I'm quite tired.
So tired, I don't even have a nightcap.
Av. Manuel Montt 925,
Tel: +56 2 3267 4334
Providencia, Región Metropolitana.
Tel: +56 2 2303 0197
My trip was paid for by Copa Cervezas de América
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