An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Friday, 10 July 2009

Pewter tankards.

I was recently dragged to what’s known as a "beer festival" by friends that are under the delusion that I am sociable and only need a bit of encouragement in order to “go out”. If they were proper friends, however, they would invite me round to theirs to drink cheap grog for nothing and I would return the favour.

Going round each other’s houses for food and drink is what the polite middle classes do in England. The impolite middle classes wife swap, so always be prepared for quick exit if people put car keys in a salad bowl. Otherwise it’s usually a bit of a bore because they will mainly be friends of your missus, and your missus’s best friend will be married to a twonk that likes F1 or something equally tedious and they often have kids that are frankly unruly and feral but your missus thinks are adorable and give her ideas. If you’re lucky you will be in the home of a wine or beer snob and drink lots of expensive plonk or grog, all gratis, and all it will cost you is the type of flattery they hanker after “umm, delish, aromatic, you have top notch taste, my friend” You will be invited back, to neck more.

My friends unfortunately are not middle class, they are working class, and are the types of losers that don’t have dinner parties, or wives, or girlfriends. They live with their mum and hanker after being invited to drink my cheap grog, in my nicely furnished home in order to tap with a single, educated, professionally employed female friend of the lady squeeze. The lady squeeze however has met my friends, and that’s why when meeting the chaps, we “go out”.

Beer festivals tend to be run by an organisation known as CAMRA (as was this one) that used to be an amiable friend of the drinking classes but in more recent years represents the worst of elitist beer snobbery coupled with a desire to but the kybosh on the right of free Englishmen to pop to the supermarket and load up with cheap grog. They are under the delusion that if they kybosh cheap grog, we will all grow beards, wear sandals and be happy to pay £2.50 for a pint of dark pongy muck that’s been “cask conditioned” in a pub that they think is “traditional” but anyone under the age of 40 considers a dump and one your girlfriend would not be seen dead in. We won’t, we’ll bugger off to shop in France and transfer the brewing capacity of the UK to the frogs.

CAMRA is an organisation I would like to like. I would stand and defend a fellow free Englishman’s right to support and promote a cause dear to them. A group of people that preferred a dying style of beer grouped together and created a healthy and vibrant niche market, encouraging others along the way to join them. More power to them. When in a pub, cask bitter is often the cheapest thing in there, the least sting, fairly palatable, and I have been known too.

I can understand the pub trade wishing to put the kybosh on the competition with their uncompetitive, unwanted and dangerous make it the minimum campaign.I cannot understand how a consumer group, which CAMRA purports to be, thinks price fixing is in anyone’s interest?

Despite my unwillingness to fund this organisation, I was in the company of people that liked that sort of thing (one of the chaps is, god forbid, a member), and went along with it. There was lots of odd stuff, not to mention odd people, but a surprising number of people that look normal. If you walked past them in the street you’d never think. Not all of it was rank. Some of it was quite palatable and quaffable. I found myself enjoying it. Pricewise, not cheap but not unreasonable. Tip; get served by one of the younger volunteers, the younger they are the greater propensity not to be a twat. The older they get the more “beer” knowledgeable they are and in the absence of wives, children, homes and life success they realise it is the only way to show that important human trait of thinking you are better than others. Your regular or garden variety smug wanker who wants to do this will buy a Merc or a BMW.

To avoid the truly rank muck, ask for a blonde ale. “Which one?”, “An easy going one”. This is real ale’s answer to lager, and not that bad. A beer person will use terms like “aromatic hops” which means “pongy”, but if you can cope with that, it’s a quaffable drink. It's not Foster's, but you can't have everything. Had I bothered to remember any names I would tell you, but what would be the point? Branding and marketing is evil to this lot and next year the same crap will be brewed by the same people but be given a different name, so the beer tickers try it again. Beer tickers are the beer festivals very own train spotters and easy to spot. They are reading the programme/beer menu.

Sting of the night was an entrance fee of £4 AND a £2 deposit for a glass under the assumption I’d want to keep it. Nope I will have my £2 back, ta.

CAMRA serves one important function, I learnt, and isn’t all bad. It gives bearded twats with leather waistcoats and pewter tankards something to do and somewhere to go to keep them away from the rest of polite society. One cock, a ZZ Top reject, with a high visibility vest (they had him on security!) actually had his pewter tankard holstered, on his belt. Like a gun. Good God.

Who owns pewter tankards? Look at this. Specifically “Customers who bought this item also bought...” It says it all.


Wurst-Internet troll, bully, CEO APRK said...

Nice piece, I laughed my ass(arse) off! Be careful, soon Rudy, or one of his derelict cronies, will show up with a rebuttal.

Curmudgeon said...

Love it - with their campaign against cheap beer, CAMRA really have lost the plot. And I'm a (dissident) member!

Southport drinker said...

Amen. Camra think they're saving pubs bit minimum pricing will force price of all drink up - especially hittingvthe poorest

Woolpack Dave said...

I do agree with you on minimum pricing, it's a slippery slope. Supposing I wanted to sell my pongy beer at discount prices, which I don't, but supposing I did want to, I should have every right to do so.

Velky Al said...

The worst types are those who take every opportunity to slag off the mega-brewers simply because they are bigger evil corporations. I am actually looking forward to trying some of the big brewers stuff over here and see how it compares to the big brewers in the Czech Republic, Staropramen vs Miller Lite anyone?

Cooking Lager said...

I would not only encourage you to sell your pongy beer cheap, Dave, I would also offer a gentle and friendly nudge towards super chilling it. Takes the edge of.

Curmudgeon said...

Hmm, it would be interesting to know which particular beer festival this was. £4 entrance, £2 glass deposit, ZZ Top reject on security with tankard holstered (I know a guy who fits the bill precisely), could very well be Stockport. Or pretty much any other festival ;-)