Last Thursday I was heading out for a social beverage with my college chums, it being Thursday and also a birthday of one social climber Shane mcHugo, so a soiree was on the cards. In preparation mode, I popped in to the off licence to see what was on offer. Remember, theme for the evening is a house party in Cedar Lawns: its going to get pretty insane.
So I’m browsing the canned larger section (thinking disposable, cheap and easy) when out of the corner of my eye I spot a boxed set in the world/craft beer section. Its a four bottle plus glass plus stand Kwak gift set. I’ve only heard about this beer from my ‘Crazzy’ ultimate frisbee friends in DCU, and by all reports its the shit.
I examine the box, making all the right noises. 8.4%. Check. Authentic glass and stand. Check. Blond beer. Check. Then I see the price. €27. I have 30 in my wallet and I have to pay for a lift home tomorrow. And I still need beer for the party.
Then I spot my laser card and remember its Thursday. Payday. Check.
Investigating the glass is almost as fun as drinking from it. It is held upright in a wooden stand; the brewery claims the glass was designed by the innkeeper Pauwel Kwak in the early 19th century for coachmen who would stop at his coaching tavern and brewery named “De Hoorn”. Travellers would often stop at an inn for refreshment, however the coachmen were required to stay with the coach and horses. Standard handled mugs were impractical for gloved coachmen sitting high up, so one enterprising innkeeper, Pauwel Kwak, had a special glass created for his beer. Its shape enabled it to be hung on the coach and be easily held in a thick glove. Drinking from the glass, the bulb at the bottom will remain filled for a relatively long time. As soon as air reaches the still-filled bulb, a large amount of beer will gush towards the drinker. This is accompanied by a characteristic sound which sounds like Kwak spoken quickly.
In most pubs that serve Kwak, its tradition to exchange your shoe for the glass, to stop you going home without giving it back. Its also said that when you forget to put it back in the stand you’ve had too much! (8.4%!)