In many ways, fatherhood is a bit like boarding a steamboat chugging towards the horizon, silhouetted by the setting sun… only the ocean beneath you is made entirely of tears (theirs and yours). Also, your boat is fuelled by ear-splitting temper tantrums, and, no matter how spiritually enriching it all is, there’s an ungodly amount of shit to clear up. Actually no, scrap that, too gross. Fatherhood is more like falling off a Magaluf party boat, and hearing the sounds of drunken revellers fading in your ears, as your old life floats away, and you’re pulled into unchartered waters.
Point being, you change. Everything around you changes, and often the most stark difference between your life pre-kids and your life post-them is that you don’t get out and about in the way you used to. Socialising comes at a premium, your finger is removed from the pulse, and your ability to discover new things is shackled by new demands, a new focal point – new children. Nothing wrong with that of course, but here at D.A.D we still champion discovery, and believe that, just because you have kids now, your brain should still continue to absorb fresh information, and enjoy new experiences.
So, thank Christ for BeerBods, a specialist beer subscription service based near Worcester, that is essentially a hoppy embodiment of the old adage about the mountain coming to Mohammed. The quick sell is that they send a selection of twelve beers to you, sourced only from small, independent UK breweries, and you then try one of the beers each week, and discuss them on a social media forum during a live tasting every Thursday night (using the #beerbods hashtag). The slightly longer sell is that they also celebrate these beers and the craftsmanship behind them, by giving each brewer a nice platform from which to tell their story.
“It all started with me and my mates hosting beer tastings in a shed,” says Matt Lane, the brains behind the operation. “And pretty soon the shed was getting quite packed, so I wondered about doing the tastings over the internet instead, and making it a subscription service like Love Film (RIP), which I was using at the time.”
Lore has it that it wasn’t long before BeerBods, indeed, mushroomed into a dream virtual pub – boasting a weekly social that was attracting a couple of thousand loyal regulars, all keen to see what was on tap, and to learn about the provenance and craftsmanship behind these wonderful new brews. A mixture of lovingly-made odes to great lager (quick cap-doff to 71 Brewing in Dundee, or to pale ales with tropical fruit flavours (shout out to Oz Bomb by Arbor Ales, or to the many many fine selections in between.
(In the spirit of full disclosure, D.A.D should probably confess to having got slightly ahead of the game in terms of trying out the beers – with six of the twelve down already – but can at least confirm that they are not just magnificent picks, but even better than that, they’re new, and they’re definitely different. The selection has clearly been curated with an expert hand, keen to bring new flavours to the table.)
“People tend to be much more adventurous when someone else is picking the beer for them,” confirms Matt. “And actually, our preferred way of finding new beers is when our subscribers recommend them to us – we really try to encourage new discovery.”
We’ll drink to that.
Sign up for BeerBods here beerbods.co.uk/shop/subscribe, and revel in a new kind of socialising, a new way of going out while somehow staying in. And finally, FINALLY, put the godawful echo of that Magaluf party boat behind you for good.
Josh Burt is a freelance writer, who lives in South London with his wife Hannah, and his two children Gabriel and Vivienne. Over the last 20 years, he’s written for everyone from FHM to Grazia to The Times and The Telegraph, he’s had two so-so books published, and was once the online voice of Big Brother.