I was struggling no end as how to celebrate a major birthday milestone. I decided to go someplace tried and tested for lunch. While there, I thought, I would ponder how to celebrate my life thus far. Where should I ruminate and relax though? Where better than the bar where I have spent the most amount of time and money (not necessarily in that order)? I headed for the Republic Bier Halle and the celebrations that transpired over the course of the next 13 hours would take some beating.
With my girlfriend in tow, I walked down the oh-so-familiar stairs on Gordon Street, Glasgow, and within a few minutes was enjoying a brace of ice cold Desporados. My girlfriend and I looked over the Bier Halle's impressive beer menu. Each time I have visited, the menu seems to double in size. The Bier Halle must spend a fortune on menu reprints, with more than 100 different bottles, and more on tap. There is always something new for the discerning beer aficionados out there to sample. This is one of the reasons that the Bier Halle has such a loyal clientele.
While finishing my second or third beer, I had what was either divine inspiration or a plan more mephistophelian than I had ever dared to dream of before. What better way to celebrate my birthday than by sampling a different beer for every year I had been alive? For some reason my girlfriend didn't think this was as tremendous an idea as I did.
Now I feel that at this point I should offer some kind of health and safety disclaimer. At no point in your life is it advisable to drink one beer for every year you have been alive. After carrying out some unbelievably complicated mathematical equations, it seems pretty clear that it is just as deadly to try this as a totally off-the-rails five-year-old as it is for a more distinguished dipsomaniac in his late 50s. I felt eminently qualified for this challenge, however. As a Scottish person, I have had lifelong training in the art of alcohol abuse and poor life choices.
The perfect thing to soak up some of that amazing booze.
The Bier Halle does so much more than beer. Just when you are starting to realise how amazing the place is, they pull another ace from up their sleeve. I know a lot of people who steadfastly believe that the Bier Halle makes the best pizza in Glasgow. I agree with them. They do 2-for-1 pizzas most of the time and that is partly the reason that the final bill on my birthday had six of them on it. I personally ate two, and they helped me make it to the end of the day alive and almost able to walk.
I posted on Facebook letting people know where I was and told them all about the ridiculous challenge that I had set for myself. This way even even if I didn't survive to the end I might still become an urban myth or an internet meme. Bar staff began to comment on my post letting my friends and family know that I was still alive. The staff encouraged me to power through the challenge. I imagined them furiously researching online to find out what the alcohol lethality levels would be for a man of my slender build.
Tell my mother I love her and I am sorry I have been such a disappointment.
By around dinner time, my friends who had been working began to arrive. Were they there to celebrate my birthday with me or were they just wanting to spend a few moments with me before my passing? The challenge had started to change from a fun run into a full-blown marathon. All the beers that I had been trying to avoid during the early stages were now looming on the horizon as the finish line came into sight - beers like the 750ml and 8 per cent la chouffe. In marathon terms, I had hit the wall. It was too late to give up now. Legendary status and a liver transplant were just around the corner.
As I limped over the finish line and the staff began to clear up for the night, they brought over a round of schnapps on the house. I am still not sure if this was an act of kindness or sadism. What I do know is that I had just had the most amazing birthday and that I wouldn't have had it anywhere else.