Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beer on Bear Mountain

Despite growing up in Germany, the only Oktoberfest I've ever been to was held last weekend in Upstate New York, and featured a felonious long sausage queue and an equally criminal cover band. Their version of La Vida Loca made me long for some Ohm-pa action, and from the look of the dirndled grannies I wasn't the only one.

We'd spent the morning scrambling up rocks and then down quiet wooded paths. My legs had started to stretch out, and my feet were only just starting to stumble over rocks and branches. They always seem to realise they're tired before the rest of me catches on. I was heading up a splinter group who had taken the long route down (worryingly, I'm pronouncing this r-ow-t in my head) and we spent most of the easy downhill stretch speculating about whether or not we'd beat the others to the fest (we did). People were making craving noises about beer, and I tacitly joined in, just like I do when English folk get thirsty for tea, or girls get wistful for wedding dresses - because there's no prizes for raining on the parade. In the end I managed about a quarter of a pint of "German-style beer" before giving in and buying a plastic glass of Riesling, the only other booze on offer.
"Ohhh, it's really good. I'm getting drunk already." This from the only other non-beer drinker in the group. I feared I may not have been in the most sophisticated drinking company.
"Let me try that." Chris manfully pulled my cup away from me.
"Oh my God. That's so sweet, how can you even drink it?"
"It's...ok." Because it's not beer.
"No it's not even like wine," Chris persisted, "more like..."
"Wine cooler?" someone put in helpfully.
"Yeah, it's great isn't it?" the girl cooed.
So there I was, stuck between a stranger's preteen taste in liquor and my boyfriends practised wine smuggery, with the world's worst faux-German band giving it a tuba-heavy version of My Song in the background.
Well, in for a Pfennig, in for a Deutschmark.
Ignoring my toothache I downed the sweet, viscous liquid and slammed the glass down on the table. The gesture would have been more dramatic if I hadn't been drinking from a flimsy plastic container.
"Right. Who's up for another?"

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