Exploring the beer spectrum, from perfect camping beers to overrated curry beers | Jack Marshall’s column

Let’s talk beer.
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Beer is great; it’s refreshing and satisfying and social and moreish and tempting. And life features some great beers. Not brands or types - there’ll be no mention of crisp IPAs, frothy stouts, or quirky Pilsners. We’re talking beer circumstances here.

For not all beers are created equal in the eyes of the all-powerful and all-tipsy beer lord.

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By way of introduction, explore with me the case of the much-vaunted Tent Beer. Picture the scene: you’ve been driving for seven hours. You’re in a field in Cornwall and have just wrestled with 15 feet of poles and damp plastic, but the tent is up. The sun is shining.

The post-walk on a summer's day beer: eliteThe post-walk on a summer's day beer: elite
The post-walk on a summer's day beer: elite

By an unfurled camping table stand a handful of foldable chairs clenched up like dead spiders. You prise one open and slump down into it, noticing how the hills in the distance are pockmarked with shimmers of white: sheep grazing with their lambs. There’s probably birdsong.

You open a Tent Beer. Perfect.

Another scenario: you’ve moved house, wading through endless towers of boxes filled with stuff you didn’t even know you owned. You’ve been at it for hours, so someone suggests a break. A takeaway is ordered and you head out into the garden with a Moving Beer. 10/10.

Festival Beer is all excitement, that first drink at 11am whilst gathered around a soot-slicked barbeque laden with sausages. Holiday Beer is complete contentedness, a sip of unknown lager with an unpronounceable name and a mythical beast on the label. Outstanding.

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Mowing Beer: enjoyed whilst gazing out over a freshly-mown lawn, grass-smell in the air. Pool Beer: consumed in a bright pink lilo with its own beer-holder. Post-work Beer: straight to the pub as soon as your day’s done. Truly unmatched beers.

But some beers are bad beers. Overrated beers. Airport Beer: do you really want lager at 6am? Stop lying to yourself. Curry Beer: ruins both flavours and makes you bloated. Train Beer: not cold enough and looks rough. Christmas Beer: Christmas is for wine and cheese.

Disagree as you see fit: to each their own beer. But raise a glass, for there are some truly fantastic beers out there. Cheers.

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