The consumption of beer is very popular countrywide. Some occasions are for swigging beer in the garden, some are for contemplating a log fire at home, and others are for sharing with friends on special occasions.
Notably, there are a number of different ways to enjoy beer including when a group shares a mug of beer. Calling up a few like-minded friends or relatives to engage in a weekend beer drinking binge is a perfect excuse to intermingle with different circles of acquaintances and sample a few new beers of your own “must try” list.
However, the interesting part of beer drinking particularly in Zimbabwe is on sharing the same mug or bottle, a habit that has become common even at the most upmarket of joints in Harare.
Brewers often save their best beers for the sharing bottle, the 750ml Champagne-style bottles.
Bottle shares socially engage your fellow beer drinkers while simultaneously providing the benefit of getting “special occasion” beers out of your own cellar. A bar man at Glen Norah B popularly known as paFatso, said sharing beer is to ‘honour’ beer.
“Some are served in quarts and hold just as much prestige.”
But then again, traditionally umqomboti/ traditional brew used to bring people together and sharing beer from the same calabash was a symbol of unity. Remember Yvonne Chakachaka song called umqomboti, even those “bira” people share it as a symbol of oneness
Journalist, Nigel Pfunde, said while it looks fun, sharing a bottle of beer is unhealthy.
“I have shared beer from the same bottle with my brothers and friends. It’s fun. However, we have to face reality and look at the health aspect. It’s very unhealthy, what if someone has infected lips. Some even dare to maliciously spit in the shared beer. Sharing beer has to be with a very close clique of friends or family,” he said.
Attending beer festivals is a great way to one’s expand your knowledge and palate. It also allows people to share beer. These opportunities provide several small pours of beer instead of the traditional method of ordering full-size glasses. Others argued that its NOT a matter of affordability.
Robson Matewu, a local DJ said sharing a quart of beer doesn’t mean anyone is broke but it’s a sign of love between buddies.
“It’s a time to let beer, beautiful beer, take the place of honour,” he said.
“These smart sharing bottles are perfect for the middle of the table. We can afford to buy each other beer hence the issue of affordability is out. We are merely sharing love. In other words, drinking beer might make you more social and more empathetic. Drinking beer makes you friendlier, happier, less inhibited.”
But that’s not all.
Shoemaker, Tatenda Makoni, said his goal when drinking a beer is to enjoy the taste, complexity and ‘style’ of a beer with friends.
He emphasised that it has to be a special circle that may include high school friends, workmates, and relatives of friends.
“So quality is much more important than quantity. The idea is to enjoy the drink with the people you love. Alcohol makes people happier, more social and less inhibited.
“We found that drinking a glass of beer helps people see happy faces faster, and enhances concern for positive emotional situations,” he said.
Beer drinkers are increasingly crazy. They don’t mind who hasn’t cleaned his teeth. And oh, some will even be smoking.
But they maintain the notion that the more the merrier.
While your initial instinct may be to keep your tasting group small, expanding the number of participants means that you’ll have more varieties of beer to try, say some beer guzzlers. Different people have different preferences.
The researchers found that people were more eager to socialise after a drink or two.
While people can agree to share a bottle, blood alcohol levels tend to differ.
They could stem from differences in blood alcohol level after the same amount of beer; differences in tolerance due to previous alcohol use; or socio-cultural factors, factored in Makoni.
Mind you, beer sharing is not a race. Depending on the number of bottles being shared and size of the pours, you will probably want to allot the majority of the day to slowly drink through your supply.
The goal here is to taste and enjoy these different beers. You do that by sipping slowly, taking notes and discussing the flavours with your peers.