One of the more remarkable things about the opposite sex (ladies), is both their ability to make friends and their desire to do so. Most of my friends are a motley collection of individuals I knew either at school or university. I haven’t made any friends since and if truth be told possess little desire to do so. If a further darker truth be told, I could live without the ones I’ve got.
The lady squeeze however is remarkable, not just for her good looks and intelligence, but also for turning passing acquaintances into friends. Take Trevor and Sue (please do ho ho). One minute the lady squeeze is dragging me to a local meeting for a neighbourhood watch“ (a good thing I’ve no doubt, but something that can exist without my involvement), the next thing we are talking to Trevor and Sue (or rather the 2 women are talking, Trev and I are looking at our watches), then out of the blue we are apparently “going round Trevor and Sue’s house on Saturday night for a meal. Trevor likes home brewing beer, you like beer, you’ll get on” Now that’s a lie. I don’t get on with people, never have, and anyway how did all this happen? How did exchanging a few pleasantries and local gossip become spending social time with each other? Time we could spend on our own going at it like rabbits? Also a deeper and darker malaise traversed my soul. Homebrew. Oh my god.
It is a universal truth of homebrew that the maker thinks its great, but it is in fact a nasty evil tincture that tastes foul, will rot your guts, give you a nasty hangover, leave you on the toilet for a day and generally make you regret your own birth. When someone offers you some homebrew make any excuse to say no. Claiming to be on medication is the best excuse I’ve ever used for not drinking. Claiming to be tee-total marks you as a tosser, religion also marks you as a weirdo and you cannot claim to be driving when they live 4 doors down.
Homebrew is forever tainted with the mark of Reggie Perrin the fictional mid life crisis comedy, whose son in law famously made undrinkable homebrew from odd ingredients (parsnip wine and the like) that all but himself found to be nasty. I gather it was a hobby in vogue in the 70’s and passes into and out of fashion for varying reasons, whether it be the price of booze, a general do it yourself Tom Good have an allotment fashion, or whatever. Why though would anyone go to the hassle when high quality delicious and refreshing cooking lager is 40p a can?
Anyway, Trevor and Sue are a delightful couple, I found myself quite liking “Call me Trev”. He showed me round his elaborate set up. Yes, I know what you think, he had all his kit in his shed, and was quite the mad scientist. I half expected a hybrid creature in a cage screaming “please kill me” Talk of boilers, mash tuns, sparging your wort involved me nodding my head and being politely interested. Politely interested is a term used when you are not at all interested but feel you have to pretend you are.
The food was great, organic rabbit stew. Sue is a fine cook. Now I could spend all day ranting about organic food and the nutcases that buy it. To pay twice the price for something that is no better, because there is nothing wrong with normal food is idiocy, but heh, its there money not mine. The English middle classes revere a tosspot called Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, which is why we had to be told about the local organic butchers, grocers and the like. All places I shall not frequent because I like Mr Tesco and his prices.
Of course what we want to know is what is Trev’s cooking like? To paraphrase the wrestling star The Rock, do we even want to smell what Trev’s got cooking? I notice at this point the women are sharing a bottle of shop bought wine, nothing Trev's knocked up in his shed, my heart sinks. Why can't I have a glass of Pinot?
The beer was a “blonde ale”, something’s that’s obviously the current fashion. All malt, he did tell me the hop variety but the day I buy a notebook to jot beer ramblings into is the day I grow a beard, so I forgot. He said it was “rather lively”, which means frothy as he could only dispense a pint from his big white plastic barrel into a German stein, that was half froth. One he purchased too, so he said, from a beer shop. The middle classes don’t nick things, it’s in the handbook the government give you when you become middle class.
As it was half froth that took a while to settle, we waited. The beer was clear enough, a slight pong but no worse than anything I’ve drank that people tell me is real ale, and the taste? Palatable. Genuinely palatable grog. Neck able without a single wince. No “acquired taste” that takes a few pints before you like it. Drinkable from the first swig. Cool but not cold and flat rather than fizzy, but all in I gave it the thumbs up. Six pints worth of thumbs up. Well done Trev. What was I saying? Homebrew is lovely!
A further feature of homebrew, one I forgot, is that its ABV, alcohol level, is often variable and uncertain. Brewers measure the OG (original gravity) but with homebrew all manner of uncertainties arise. It continues fermenting and thinning out the longer you keep it and all home brewers seem to say “it’s a bit unexpectedly strong this one” This one was. Six pints and I lost the use of my legs. Genuinely pissed in a way that only occurs at xmas when the lady squeeze's father hands me glass after glass of his malt whisky.
Not unsurprisingly I feel like death today, but am told “it’s all my own fault”. Luckily I was a well behaved drunk and have nothing to apologise for, not always the case. Though I ponder luckily? Had I been an arsehole they would not entertain our impending invite for a meal, so we could get away with it? As it stands another dinner party beckons. At least it beats going to the pub.
Yes I think, if the anti booze lot get there way, the only alternative to not going to the pub will have to be sparging our own wort. Thank god for cooking lager.