Last Updated : 23/03/08
or those who don't know me, let's just say that I harbour quite a few strange and/or unusual ideas about a wide swathe of subjects, but mainly about beer. One of these ideas, which is more of a statement of ideals than an idea when I think about it, is that drinking beers from a country which you haven't been to isn't playing fair and is tantamount to cheating... although I've since abandoned this theory in a fit of denunciation, so let me explain.
When I used to scoop UK beers exclusively I had pretty firm views on foreign brews namely that they were fine to drink and enjoy when there was nothing from the UK to scoop (oh the naïvety of youth!) and therefore didn't usually bother writing them down or counting them... however, as I began to get more into travelling abroad and - obviously - drinking non-UK beers, I suddenly decided that I needed some rules and so came up with the surreal concept of "beer limbo" or, as Dante would probably call it, the "first circle of beer hell" which has a slightly better ring to it don't you think?
Originally I decided that any beer drunk away from it's country of production couldn't be counted towards my total, but as I'd only been to 5 countries this kind of limited my scooping potential when, for example, I found beers from Luxembourg in Belgium and realised that my rules prevented me from scooping them as they wouldn't count! Not wishing to miss out on any scoops the "limbo" concept was honed over the next few boozy trips to Belgium and basically ended up stipulating that "Any beer consumed away from it's country of origin can't be counted but can remain in beer limbo so that when the country is visited at a later date all beers consumed up until that point can be retrospectively counted".
It may seem a rather pathetic waste of brain power to even bother thinking of such a ludicrous system of scooping and, looking back now, I wholeheartedly agree with that statement, but at the time I was trying to formulate some rules for my Euro-scooping and so I feel I should be let off the hook owing to my inexperience. I kept up my limbo policy for a few months but with my ever-increasing scooping rate abroad I realised that it was bollocks and depriving me of winners, and so allowed myself to relax the rule and I now count anything from anywhere, even if I've never been, which is a damn sight easier to administer!
Saying that, I still agree with the basic principle of the rule which was to prevent me racking up stacks of winners from a country I would consequently not bother visiting as I'd scored all the beers and therefore deleted a major reason for going there. My new philosophy, therefore, on scooping beers from unvisited territories is that I'll allow myself to score a few but drinking too many would be taking the piss and cheating - I'd much rather score a beer as close to it's home as possible than from a bottle trucked around the continent for months on end - so I try and restrain myself and not drink many beers from countries I've not yet been to although, just like Pope Benedict XVI, I've abandoned the idea of limbo and I can do no better than his reason of "it has always been simply a theological hypothesis"... just what I was going to say.
Herbal has also written a piece on the subject...
No, I haven’t started to worry about my immortal soul, nor is this an attempt to annoy the catholic church (fun though that is), or even an attempt to score beers from the afterlife; It is an idea of Gazza’s that I have adopted, to deal with foreign beers. I never used to count ‘foreign muck’ in the UK, though I have recently started (and yes, I confess, I do wish I’d kept notes on the hundreds of foreign beers I drank just for fun). However, I still aim to score most beers in country of origin – to me scoring a load of foreign beers in the UK takes the fun out of it, the joy is in going and finding them. To this end, I have adopted the ‘scooping limbo’ idea – quite simply, I write down every foreign beer I try, but they don’t go on the database or get counted until I have been to the country of origin. Once I get off my arse and get to the country, all the beers count retrospectively, and are added to the total.
Of course, in some cases I’m unlikely to ever get to the country, but that’s life. So far I’ve only had beers from three countries not visited: Russia, Norway and Sweden, all on the agenda for some point. Now the only problem is whether to count a country as visited if I only went before independence – Montenegro and Kosovo being prime examples in my case.