Ever found yourself in an awkward situation involving beer? Are there times you've found yourself second-guessing just how a good citizen of craft beer would act? Stuck in a quaffable quandary and can't see a way out?
Meet Dr Benny, here to fix your every crafty dilemma.*
These lockdowns are getting lonely. I'm over virtual pubs, there are only so many beer events I can do on Zoom, and I'm getting RSI in my thumb from refreshing Instagram non-stop. I still want to connect with my mates while enjoying a beer somehow, though.
What can I do before pubs are open again?
Can I start by saying I love this letter. I’m in Sydney too, man, and, yeah, it’s a bit like that. I too have done a few group Zoom sessions with the people I normally drink fine beer with but it’s different because you can only really have one conversation going between all of you at one time which is nothing like hanging out at all! Thank God it’s not like that in real life, no matter how comfy my well-worn tracksuits are.
Between lockdowns, sourcing a jab, and the frustration of people protesting all of it, you’ve put up with a lot, so I’ll try and make my solution as quick and simple as this lockdown could have been back when there was one index case.
Plan A: Can Swap.
Find a friendly neighbour or nearby friend who also loves to drink delicious beer and trade photos of what you’ve each got in stock. Eventually you’ll each see something you want to trade and one of you can make a contactless trade by simply swapping the beers at your front door. Pop them in a paper back and you can even pretend you're in hotel quarantine.
Currently, I am doing this with my crafty neighbour Sam (hopefully you’re not the same Sam) who found out I love beer by hearing me review them on my balcony three times a week for five years. It’s great because I get to try beers I never would have bought and flex my skills by recommending ones I reckon he’ll like.
To get started, you’ll need some beer with a few twins and four-packs for trading. Take a photo of your haul, then hit up all your beer-loving mates within five kilometres and ask if they’d like to trade anything. Swap the beers (contactlessly, please), drink the beers and share your thoughts with each other. Not only will you do a bit of walking, get some sunlight, and learn about your mates’ tastes but they’ll also learn yours and hopefully remember it next time it’s your birthday.
Plan B: Bin Diving.
Now, I am aware this plan falls apart if you don’t have any mates within five kilometres.
Hopefully you do, but if you don’t, and moving back to your hometown with mum and dad isn’t an option, I suggest scouting out your recycling bin area to see if you have any neighbours dropping off empty cans of beery goodness.
“Oh hey, is that the Philter Double Red? Good, hey?” is just one conversation-starting tactic you can use to get you going. From there, you have a can-swapping neighbour you can even praise for their choices by yelling out the kitchen window.
If you are going to scout new friends via the recycling bins, please wear a mask while doing this. I don’t want you getting a fine because “The Crafty Pint made me do it!” Wear a brewery-branded face mask if you can, that will be a great conversation point for you and your new BBFF.
Plan C: Beer Groups.
If that (ingenious) plan doesn’t work, you could hit up your local craft beer groups and see if anyone wants to be a trade partner, but there is more chance of COVID-related risk involved in that. To be honest, I can’t really recommend doing that in a pandemic – no matter how much of a hoax my cousin I had to block on Facebook claims it is.
Plan D: Take It Easy.
If this doesn’t cut it for you, Sam, either because you’ve already tried it (seriously, are you my neighbour?) and it didn’t scratch your pub itch or you don’t think it will work, then I may be forced to give advice that goes beyond beer: take it easy.
Lockdown won’t last forever. Until it ends, we owe it to ourselves to have a more relaxed standard on what constitutes a life well lived. For me, lockdown means getting outta bed before 10am qualifies as an early start, calling my mum is the highlight of my day, and taking the recycling out is a feat worthy of a hoppy reward. As is every minute spent not crying.
The pubs will open again, and when they do there will be a seat and a cold one with your name on it, and hopefully a couple more for the people you connected with in these pear-shaped times.
Got a question for Dr Benny to tackle? Then drop us a line and we'll get the good doctor on the case!
Dr Benny is the alias of Benedict Kennedy-Cox who is best known as the face of Benny’s Beer Reviews (who we first wrote about here) and worst known for property damage done in his youth. He would like to make it clear he is not an actual doctor but really enjoys telling people what to do, occasionally online but mostly on public transport. His favourite Beatles album is their Greatest Hits Compilation.
*The Crafty Pint does not guarantee a 100 percent fix rate.