The Session #52: Beer Collectibles

This month's Session, "Beer Collectibles & Breweriana", is hosted by Brian Stechschulte at All Over Beer.

I squashed my collecting bug before I turned a teenager. A brief flirtation with stamps, a serious fixation with chocolate bar wrappers and a bizarre fascination with badges gave way to far healthier pursuits. Like failing miserably at cricket. And engineering socially-awkward opportunities to try and see Julie ********'s bra. Apparently, if I'd asked, she'd have shown it to me. And it turns out she knew how to throw a cricket ball too.

So the attraction of saving breweriana has never appealed. Tegestology doesn't tickle my fancy. I do have a giant glass full of bottle tops but that was borne out of habit - flicking tops from one end of the kitchen to the other. I've no idea what's in that glass, never mind it being cross-referenced and photographed.

But, strictly speaking, I do have a collection. It's small but perfectly formed:

The Orval label comes from a lunchtime bottle savoured at the Nouvelle Hostellerie d'Orval in the company of brewery's commercial director, François de Harenne, and the beer polymath Phil Lowry. The Chimay cork was one of several popped later that same day by their export manager, Steve Marangon, in the garden of Auberge de Poteaupré. It was a day like no other in my life. Intelligent company. Industrial brewing sat cheek-by-jowl with meditative surroundings. World-class beers.

Every time I look at these things I can again feel the sun on my back. Taste the cheeses. Recall the tales told. Grin like the Cheshire Cat once more.

To everyone else, it's throwaway stuff. To me, it's a tangible link to the greatest beery day in my life. I'm just glad that I remembered to bring them home.