Beer Photography, a Guilty Pleasure

I’ve been in doubt about this blog post for a long time. Is it such a good idea to write about beer and its connection with photography? Does it make me look like an alcoholic or dipsomaniac? There were times when you had to empty a crate every night for that, but nowadays you already get critical looks when you occasionally sip a Belgian specialty beer or two.

But as a summer intermezzo, not to be taken too seriously, shouldn’t it be acceptible? Mid August, in the closing days of the funny season or, as we say in the Netherlands, the cucumber time? As a kind of guilty pleasure, wouldn’t that be okay?

Close-up of a colorful pile of crown caps from beer bottles
Guilty pleasure


Nevertheless, here’s a disclaimer. No, this is not a plea for the unrestrained consumption of alcoholic beverages. Like almost everything nice and tasty, alcohol is unhealthy and addictive and it makes you fat.

So: drink in moderation. And try sometimes not to drink. Or give low or non-alcoholic beers a chance. It doesn’t always have to be 10 or 12 percent.

A large variety of crown caps from beer bottles
The crown cap project


But never forget to enjoy. Not just the taste of the beer of course, but also the colorful beer culture, thousands of years old and still constantly renewing itself.

Because enjoyment is healthy. And although I cannot submit hard data right now, I suspect that through enjoying some of the harmful effects of the alcohol can be compensated.

A glass of La Trappe trappist beer, photographed in the monastery garden next to the Brewery near Tilburg, The Netherlands
La Trappe in the monastery garden


There are people who make money with beer photography. A good beer photo even makes a total abstainer crave for the stuff. When I try to take such a photo myself however, I discover that it is a profession in itself. Allright, everyone has to find his niche; I’ll focus on landscape and architectural photography instead.

Six bottles of Belgian and Dutch special beers: Chimay, Texels, La Chouffe, Kaapse Harrie, St. Bernardus and Zundert, placed in order of the colors of the rainbow
All colors of the rainbow


But when I enjoy a Leffe, Affligem or La Trappe after a long hike, I often cannot resist the temptation to take my camera out of its bag again to capture the beautiful light in glass and content for posterity.

Two glasses of Leffe Belgian beer, one blond and one brown, captured in their natural habitat: a sunny outdoor cafe
Blond and brown, together in prfect harmony


It must be said, however, that it is advisable to take the photo when the foam still comes to the edge of the glass. A photo of a half-consumed beer is somehow less attractive.

Half full glass of Ciney beer on a hiking map of the Belgian Ardennes
An optimist considers the glass half full


Also an empty glass, waiting for a refill, can provide unexpected photographic possibilities, as shown by this very temporary Leffe tattoo on the hairy arm of drinking companion B.

A "tattoo" on a hairy lower arm caused by sunlight shining through a glass of Leffe beer
A sunlight tattoo

The holy grail

In the meantime, I keep hoping for an alcohol-free beer that is just as tasty as, say, a Leffe Brown or a Chimay Blue. That must be something like the holy grail for the beer industry. How hard can it be? Quite hard, it seems. But we keep dreaming.

Close-up of a beer glass filled with crown caps

UPDATE: there’s also a link between beer and hiking. Read about the beerhikes I made together with travel companion A.: La TrappeDe LeckereGulpener

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