In much of Canada, there’s a long dark period between Christmas and the spring thaw when it can be a “dark and depressing” monotony of short days, cold, snow and erratic weather.

That’s why we thought it might be fun to host a beer nerd gathering in the middle of February and entitle it “A Midwinter Night’s Drink.”

The theme, yes, inspired by the Shakespeare play that we were riffing on, was for people to gather together and to share unique beers with one another. But the mandate, this time, wasn’t just an interesting beer to get others to try. The idea was to bring a unique beer or perhaps a unique personal story associated with that beer.

One of our guests, for example, brought the relatively common mass produced Labatt 50. From where we grew up, that was a beer sterotypically associated with “old French men” – but the story with it was how the woman, originally from Quebec, where this was a beer popular with middle-aged men, brought the beer to a college party, knowing that nobody would be likely to steal her beer; and if they did, she’d immediately know it, because it was different than the more popular and common beers that college students drank. Others at the story said that beer was unique because it was the first beer they had “nicked” from their father’s supply.

And so, the one story kicked off other stories in an interesting round-table discussion of sharing and friendship.

All of the beer came with interesting and unique or amusing stories; even just the story of trying to find a beer with a good story became an interesting story in and of itself.

The story, the friendship and the sharing were what the evening was about. A delightful evening that perhaps even the Bard himself might have been proud of.