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

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Probably the best lout in the world


The nights are drawing in; the days are gray and the night’s dark. What could be finer than sitting in with some lovely cooking lager and not venturing out? I was thinking recently, which is something I really ought to give up doing because it doesn’t make me happy, that if it wasn’t for Xmas the country would shut down until spring. The xmas season is approaching and I’ll inevitably be forced to go out and mingle with friends, colleagues and associates when all I really want to do is sit in, remote in one hand, can of lout in the other and wait for spring. I could comment on the news and this interested me as did McBroons promise to crack down on drunken yobs. But I cannot be bothered. What matters it to a humble cooking lager enthusiast the empty promises of charlatans?

All I want is a nice sit down and a nice drop of lout. The missus bought some Carlsberg Export when she last went shopping, and whilst she doesn’t yet have the grasp of arithmetical skills that I am attempting to impart upon her, her heart is in the right place. She paid $8.98 for 18 half pint bottles. That’s a pound a pint. Pound a pint? Crickey, we win the lottery or something? Still, it’s nice that she buys lout when on a shop without me. Could love have any deeper or truer meaning?

So I drank my lout in the spirit that it was purchased. I drank it as an act of love. The love of lout and the love of a tasty lass that’s figured out how to keep a chap.

So what can be said of Carlsberg Export? It’s a tasty all malt brew of 5%, better it has to be said than many a 5% lager, without being a nasty pongy complex beer that would challenge. Carlsberg used to advertise as a sophisticated choice, but these days it has taken a tip from Carling and opted for a close relationship to the game of association football. Recently it replaced Coors as the main lout in the Spoons chain, which may or may not be a good thing. If it enabled higher volumes and more competitive off trade prices, thumbs up, if it means they are not so desperate to shift volume in the off trade and sell for tuppence, thumbs down.

But it’s the flavour that matters here in the beer blogosphere, and it didn’t disappoint. A decent British brewed lout that had me wondering why I hadn’t had a Carlsberg for a while. So I had another. It looks cold out. If only I could work from home, then I’d never have to leave the house. Never mind, I have a whole box of this delight.

Monday, 28 September 2009

All publicity is good publicity


After reading lots of tedious shit about Brewdog Tokyo, a strong grog from a company that thinks all publicity is good publicity (they want to talk to Gary Glitter) if it means they can sting mug punters with more money than sense, I’m wondering whose gonna be first to review this pisswater? £2.49. For something so piss weak it’s not beer. Please, spare me.
It's all clever marketing. I'd rather drink Turps.

The shape of things to come


Thought I’d share the following picture of a glass, yet it’s not a glass, it’s a hard acrylic drinking vessel. One that is impossible to smash and drive into someones face.
It contained a pint of Kronenburg before I necked it. A £1.50 pint of strong lout, and the dearest beer I bought all weekend. On one side is the number 3, informing me that 1 pint of 5.2% grog is 3 units. On the side a big number 2, informing me that 1 pint of 3.5% lout is 2 units. The shape of things to come.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Carry On at your Convenience


I was all set for a post in regard to pub toilets, then a quick read of the blogs informed me the following gentleman, Curmudgy, had beat me to a toilet related posting. Whilst his post is a reasoned and articulate perspective on plans to coerce public houses into becoming public toilets (presumably by doing them up), this is nothing of the sort. Nor is it a reaction. It’s a co-incidence. Serendipity, I was going to blog about bogs anyway.

From the state of most public toilets compared to public houses, I think I know the most hygienic place to sit down, and it’s not in the snug of the Pig and Ferret. Most boozers are dumps, whilst many modern public lavatories are clean, working, comfortable and have enough loo roll for a comfortable, enjoyable even, dump.

However, if truth be told, everyone on the planet has at one time or another had a McShit. People claim to have never been in a McDonalds in the same way they claim not to watch Coronation Street, out of snob value. The truth, however, is the truth, and whilst I can accept the notion of never having eaten a Big Mac, I disbelieve anyone that claims they have never had a McShit.

A McShit marks you out not as a burger chomping chav, but as a citizen of the world. A traveller and explorer to new and exotic places. To have been too far flung places, to have been unable to find a toilet or ask a local, and seen a golden arches just as the turtles head is appearing. It is travelling as the romantic notion of a bye gone era, not as simply a means to going somewhere.
A McShit is not one of the sandwiches or drinks, a McShit is when you are caught short and the only place to pop for a dump is the welcoming glow of the golden arches. You can walk in, drop your guts, and leave without buying a thing. You can do this in other franchise food outlets and I personally recommend the toilets at Wetherspoons. They’ve won awards for the bogs in there. You can have a dump, not buy anything, and no one questions you.

In an unfamiliar area yesterday, I needed the bog, and noticed a nearby pub. There was nothing else nearby, so I braced myself to face a pub toilet. The bogs were across from the main room, so I strolled in and walked to the clearly marked gents sign. Whilst the pub was a dump, and the clientele clearly a bunch of local criminals and chavery, the bogs were surprisingly clean. Upon discovering this I thought I’d treat myself to a dump. A satisfying one it was too. The flush didn’t work, so I left the toilet with an impressively large floater, but managed to clean my hands before departing. Upon walking towards the door, the landlord collared me “It’s not a public toilet, pal” he said. “But it is a public house”, I replied, “And I thank you for the use of your convenience, to a traveller unfamiliar with the area. You have a lovely establishment. I shall return for a drink when my business is concluded” With that I left. I didn’t return. He appeared to have no branded glassware, so there was nothing to nick, and anyway I didn’t like the look of the locals.

It got me thinking, however, in regard to a pubs social responsibilities and its role in the community. Whilst these places may very well be businesses, they are open to the public and trade on what’s called “hospitality”. Hospitality being a welcoming environment. Landlords that moan about having to be hospitable and think their gaff is just a licence to sell grog are not really running public houses. When I’m Prime Minister it shall be a law that pubs have to open their bogs to anyone that enters, and as for paying them taxpayers money for the privilege, they can bog off.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Social climbing


In honour of one of my favourite beer bloggers, Mr Zak Avery, of the giant wine glass fame, I recently set upon a quest to discover whether there was a classier receptacle with which to drink the nectar that is cooking lager from. Has Zak achieved the pinnacle of refinement, nobility, exclusivity, gentility and over intellectualising the grog, with the choice of the bizarre over sized wine glass? Is there something mediocre and common about pint pots?

As you’d expect I pondered this issue for minutes before deciding upon a course of action. A trip into the Spastics shop (a shop that sells second hand tat to raise money for spastics, not a shop that sells spastics, as that would be wrong. Why would anyone want to buy a spastic? What would you do with it? Now a midget I could understand. I’d buy a midget. I’d dress him up like me, call him “mini cookie” and have him follow me about. But buying spastics is clearly and unambiguously morally wrong.) In the Spastics shop were 4 1970’s Babycham glasses for a pound. A cheeky bit of flirtation with the 90 year old dear and I had ‘em for 50p. I learnt that from watching Bargain Hunt as a student.

I was sat at home, been to the gym, dinner prepared like the modern metro sexual man I am, and sipping my delicious and refreshing can of lout from my babycham glass and admiring my own sophistication, when the lady squeeze arrived back from her late shift.

“What on earth are you doing?” She asked
“Having a lager, dear” I replied
“What are you drinking it out of?” She further enquired
“A babycham glass, my lovely” I answered
“Is there any point in asking, what the f*ck?”
“I don’t know dear, why don’t you ask, I’ll forgive the indecorous question and only show mild surprise at a lady using such language and I’ll do my best to answer”

At this she muttered something that sounded like “I hope lunacy isn’t hereditary” and poured herself a glass of wine, in a normal sized wine glass, ignoring the babycham glass I’d left out.

So have I discovered the nirvana of beer glasses? The ultimate in classy sophistication? Life is a journey, not a destination they say. Now to grow a beard like Zak. I wanna be like my hero.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Plastic Fantastic


Some bloggers like to be up to the minute and contemporary in regard to the news. I like to be weeks late and slightly irrelevant to the point at hand. Recalling the plastic glasses in rough pubs story I got given a plastic beer mug recently. I didn’t nick it, I got given it. Nor was I bribed, by evil product producers, but re-iterate to the few people that bother to read this tosh, I am fully bribe able and willing to say anything in return for free beer, money, sex or even those squeezy stress balls with company logos on. Free pens too, I like free pens.

Drinkers seem attached to drinking out of glass, but the history of boozing has all manner of beer receptacles from clay pots, pewter tankards, glass and more recently plastic. I confess to not minding plastic. It’s just grog, you throw it down your neck, and whatever it comes in is fine. Though I don’t like the soft plastic cups you get lager in at rugger matches. The hard placky one in student union bars make far better objects to throw at people and bounce off their heads.

The joy of this placky mug was that it has 2 layers, with a liquid between the layers with a thin lip at the top so you can get your gob round it. You freeze the mug and the liquid inside freezed and thus you have a mug that keeps your beer colder for longer. So is it any good?

Well, firstly it works. My ice cold lout was colder. Not so good as a device to instantly cool down a warm can of lout but it if the can is already cold, it keeps the lout ice cold and gorgeous. If you have a warm can of lout, half an hour in the freezer, that my tip. Drawbacks? Condensation on the glass. It doesn’t leek, but the coldness of it does draw the water molecules out of the air and onto the outside of the glass, creating a pool of water at the base of the glass which will drip on your shirt.

Does the plastic impart an off taste? This is ice cold lout, none of that nasty taste business here. Quality product.

Plastic, it’s the future. Though if no one’s gonna give you one, it’s not worth buying. Wait until you can nick one from a pub.

Monday, 14 September 2009

A nice cup of tea


After my excesses on the Galahad lager, Sunday was day for sipping tea. I post a stock photo, again, instead of my actual cup of tea what I drank, just in case any loon wishes to disbelieve I had a cup of tea. Umm a nice cup of tea.

I notice this in the news and it amuses me. Who is their right mind goes into pubs and pays pub prices? I am also warmed by the notion that cooking lager appreciation is a respected niche in the beer appreciation world, here. Cooking lager connoisseurs are the future.

Look at any car mechanic. They know about cars. What do they drive? They drive a cheap runabout that costs next to nowt. Drive a bespoke hand built motor created by artisans? Nah. Likewise, your typical common or garden variety cooking lager enthusiasts know what beer is about and necks high quality mass produced cheap lout. The industrial scale process ensures the maximum sugars are extracted into the wort and a consistency you cannot get knocking pongy grog up in a shed. It’s thus possible to produce natural refreshing lout at cheap prices that is nowhere near being the chemical piss the ill informed ale jihadist would have you believe.

Pick a commodity and ask yourself this, what was the price 10 years ago and what is the price now? A McMeal was just under £3, now it's just over. A can of beans and loaf of bread was a few pence cheaper then to now. The price of a pint in a grotty pub has risen over that time by over double.

You gotta laugh when you see the prices charged in pubs. Laugh all the way to Tesco.

Friday, 11 September 2009

I knight thee Sir Galahad


One of the most exciting things about beer is the wide variety of new beers and innovation hitting the market place on a seemingly daily basis. Cooking lager enthusiasts and aficionado’s enjoy this pleasure too, but at a fraction of the price. There is nothing more exciting that wandering into a shop you’ve never been in before and discovering a cheap none brand of generic cooking lager you’ve never drank before being sold for buttons and realising you can sit in front of the telly watching celebs ballroom dancing and getting pissed up for next to nowt. These types of cooking lager are none brands. Brands you’ve never heard of, often with a ludicrous name that attempt to hint at some none existent provenance or mark of quality. It’s really superb stuff. If you can neck regular cooking lagers like Carling you’ll have no problem with it, and learn to enjoy its industrial slightly chemical corn syrup in a can ambiance.

This weekend I shall be necking Galahad lager. A name that conjures up imagery of Round table, King Arthur and ancient brewing expertise. The name matters little; it could be Skandia or even Skoda lager for all I care. It’s cheap. It’s 4%. It’s neckable. It’s cheap. Oh I’ve said that but yes it’s cheap. 12 can’s for a £5 at Aldi a week or so back when I bought it. Currently a few pence dearer at £7.99 for 18, here, but this is an old faithful for those in-between times if you are waiting for the next supermarket offer on the regular branded pisswater.

Galahad Lager is brewed in the Netherlands, by "United Dutch Breweries" in Breda, NL, known for Oranjeboom and Breda Lager, now part of InBev. Several field agents have died for this piece of information, but years of intelligence have borne fruit. I'd long wondered who brewed it. According to Wiki the Breda brewery was shut and shifted to Dommelsche Bierbrouwerij is a brewery in Dommelen - although this is not clear if you look through the United Dutch website here

What’s it like? Nectar is what it’s like. Ice cold and fizzy. Makes you belch if you neck it too quickly and leaves a lagery taste in the mouth that’s best washed down with another swig. With beer like this in the world sold for buttons it makes you glad to be alive, glad it’s the weekend and glad you are a free born Englishman.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Saving mild !


One of the key things I’ve picked up from the beer blogging community is a concept called “group think” Now I’m not going to accuse the beer blogging community of avoiding conflict; a good argument is from time to time a right laugh. Especially when people start calling each other scum. It’s more a case of positive re-enforcement of a particular viewpoint. Lots of people reinforcing each other’s opinions, not because it’s the truth, but because they like to establish a truth they want to believe in.

A case in point is the subject of general health. We all know that the sauce isn’t good for us, but a moderate amount of the sauce isn’t too bad. We also know that carrying a few extra pounds (on the waist not wallet) is none too clever. However it never ceases to amaze me that perfectly reasonable government advice to drink less, exercise more, eat healthily is dismissed as health fascism of a nanny state. That evidence that supports drinking or whatever established opinion that is firmly held is given the thumbs up and used to reinforce existing prejudice and evidence that contradicts a treasured opinion is dismissed, usually by insulting the doctor or health professional expressing the view.

Now I’m not going to get into the business of units, whether they are meaningful or whether they are made up and plucked from thin air. People come in different shapes and sizes and I guess that most averages lack meaning unless of course you fall into “average”

Here in the UK billions of tax payer cash is thrown into a National Health Service and I’ve no problem with the NHS and support it in principle. However it seems perfectly reasonable for the government to advertise healthier lifestyles as a way of more effectively utilizing the resources of the NHS. If McDonalds can advertise crap, why shouldn’t there be a counter view based on science and best current nutritional thinking? It’s still a free country, guv.

Now for the past week or two I’ve been cutting back on the sauce and I have lost about a stone. That’s 14 pounds or 7 kilo’s. Not bad. All by cutting down on the grog, knocking on the head chippy lunches and mid morning snickers bars, and eating a salad or two. I feel better for it, my trousers fit me comfortably again. It’s win win. Are you a fat biffer? Check here or here and lay off the grog for a week or two for an easy way of dropping the pounds. That’s my tip, folks.

However I cut back on the grog, didn’t cut it out. A weekend isn’t a weekend without a pint. A pint of what though eh? I read this or more pertinently this and discovered some interesting shit. Mild is a low calorie drink. 136 calories a pint. That’s less than Coors Light that comes in at 88 calories a half pint bottle or 176 calories a pint. Now that’s not common knowledge is it? Or is it? Does everyone know this? Now I’ve never had a pint of mild in my life. It’s cheap nasty old man’s piss water. However I had a couple of pints (fractionally more calories than 1 pint of Stella in 2 pints of mild) and discovered it’s actually not that bad. It was cask ale, but not pongy. Little flavour and weak as piss. I also discovered the ale jihadists’ campaign to save this dying beer style.

Have they thought about simply pointing out to modern metro sexual chaps like me that like a pint but have no intention of becoming fat blokes with beards that mild is a low calorie grog? Just a thought. I doubt it’ll be my last pint of mild. It’s not great beer, but it’s cheap and low calorie. Anyway enough of this, I’ve an appointment for a back, sack and crack then another appointment for a tan and manicure. Looking gorgeous. Chin Chin

Thursday, 3 September 2009

The best beer for the best food is?


There are those like Mr Wurst who state that the Bombay Bad Boy is the ultimate in culinary Pot Noodle delight. A good choice to be sure, but better than a chicken and mushroom? The matter is open. However I am more in line with Mr Curmudgeon, who appears more your Donor Kebab Pot Noodle kind of guy. But what beer to match with it? I’m at a loss. My Cooking Lager knowledge and wisdom eludes me. So, as it become apparent that some people read this tosh, god knows why, please help me. Suggest a beer to go with this culinary delight. Doesn’t have to be cooking lager, can be anything from pongy ale to Belgian fruit beer to German Weisse. Though cooking lager would be cheaper. Only one rule, I can buy it in a Sainsbury, Tesco, Morrison’s or Aldi. I’m not going out of my way to acquire this grog. Oh and I'm not paying silly money. Best suggestion gets me buying some and drinking it.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Spanking gorgeous


Time for a beer and food matching review. There are only two words to describe this combination. “Spanking gorgeous”. All other words are unnecessary and superfluous. Nuff said.