In Good Spirits

The Art of the Shower Beer

A Southern chef reflects on the merits of a squeaky-clean brew after a hard day’s work

Illustration: Jonathan Carlson

More than once, I’ve been asked, “Are you taking that beer into the bathroom?” I’m not sure why this needs explaining, but here goes: It’s called a shower beer. I don’t do this every day. It’s an occasional, small, simple reward. For having cut the grass on a late July afternoon, for instance, or maybe after serving seven hundred people in a field somewhere with only a card table and an extension cord at some food and wine festival. It just makes sense. Sometimes I stray when I’m on holiday and have one for no reason, but ordinarily I reserve them for postwork heroics.

I think that this is mostly a guy thing. I know a few women who agree with me on this, but more seem puzzled. “How are you going to wash your hair?” one of my sisters once asked me. First of all, I don’t really have any hair, but I would just put the can in the shower caddy and get on with it.

As with many good things, it’s best if I stop at one, even though I want another. Negronis and orders of uni come to mind here as well. The second one is never quite as satisfying, and if you forget and leave two cans on the ledge of the tub, it starts rumors. “Wonder who he was in the shower with?”