Now I’m not one for pubs, but the occasional crafty pint is more than just a beer. It is the whole craftiness of it. It’s not a regular pint, it’s a crafty one. One you’re not supposed to have. One you’re having when you have told your loved one you are doing something else. It is a forbidden pleasure. A crafty pint is a taste of striking a blow for male liberation. It’s wearing the trousers in this relationship. Whilst deciding upon the venue for my crafty pint I heard a familiar “Aright fella” and turned to see a chap I hadn’t seen in a while. I was actually pleased to see him. I quite like him actually. I can’t say that about everyone I know, but this chap is a reasonable enough bloke. We hadn’t spoken in about 3 years, so it took 2 and a half minutes to catch up before realising his plan was identical to mine. He’d escaped the clutches of buying tat with his missus and was embarking upon “the crafty pint”.
With a partner in crime we embarked together upon our mission. It was then I realised that my associate had gone over to the dark side. Seductive and alluring is the dark side but once you choose it, forever will it determine your destiny. He suggested popping in the Spoons to use his CAMRA tokens up as there was a beer festival on. What has happened to him? When last we spoke he drank lout, he wore soccer shirts. Now he’s wearing hush puppies and a corduroy jacket, and has the first signs of a man attempting to grow a beard. The signs were all there I guess, but now I was having a pint with a beer geek. He was going to suggest I drink a pint of the pongiest ale at the bar. I just felt it in my bones.
We got to the Spoons and there was line of forbidding cask pumps, using up valuable space that could be used for flashy bright and attractive ice cold lout fonts, and among the cask pumps sat “Lakeland Cask Lager, 5.0%” You what? Cask Lager? What’s the point in that? When he asked “What you having?” Seeing my chance to possibly avoid the pong I asked “Do your beardy weirdie tokens cover the cask lager?” “Yeh, oh I hadn’t noticed that, I think I’ll have one of them too”
I saw hope for him. He hadn’t turned completely. He was capable of enjoying a pint of cheap lout. We moved into the beer garden. “Pound fifteen a pint with the tokens this stuff, I don’t usually come in here but I fancied using them up. They don’t check ‘em properly so I can use up out of date ones” Hope for him indeed. Not only lout, but cheap lout. He hadn’t turned completely. The inner lager lout was within him still, struggling to get out within the veneer of middle class professional respectability he had adopted as his current image. The grog was a strange brew. Not quite cold enough to be proper lout and not at all fizzy enough. Not bad though. Perfectly drinkable. Just not at all benefiting from having been cask conditioned. A decent lager strangled by the demands and prejudices of the beardies. Bit of fizzing and super chilling it would have been a top quality pint of lout. As I went to the bar to get my round in, my associate gave me 2 of his tokens. “There out of date and you’re only meant to use one a visit, but they never check in here. Get a quid off, might as well use as many of these up as we can get away with” Nice one. I guess thanks to CAMRA are involved for these tokens. I guess the dark side isn’t that bad after all. Or am I being seduced along the path? Is my heart and mind in danger of being diverted from a love of cheap lout? But then again, tokens that allowed 2 guys to sit in a beer garden for an afternoon drinking cheap lager and turning a crafty pint into a bit of a session? Nice one beardies. Well done, keep it up. Why doesn’t he use his cheap beer tokens up? Apparently there is a multi beer house with 20 cask ales on that he likes to go in to. Oh dear oh dear. Is such a thing really mainstream? Is it just a popular niche that reveals to us the social segregation of our nation? CAMRA ought to send the token out to none members, then they’d be used up. There is hope for him though. He recently returned to town from working away down south where southern types have obviously warped him. I guess he’s lucky to still be heterosexual. A world cup is about to start. The chaps will lure him back to ice cold fizzy lout and watching soccer on big telly’s. His pong drinking will be curtailed over the coming months as he returns to hanging out with the fellas and gets a pint of Stella down him. I consider it my duty to meet up with the boys and put my friend back on the straight and narrow.
This was enough of a session that upon receiving the text message “where are you?” I phoned the missus up and confessed all. “I’m in a pub; I’ve had a few pints. I ran into an old mate. Would you like to join us?” Another rule of lying. Only lie when you can get away with it. If there is no chance, fess up. Soon my drinking associate and I had company. Our respective squeezes arrived to be placated by a bottle of cheap wine as we disguised our apathy and pretended to like the purchases we were shown with comments “that is very nice, it suits you”. Sunshine, booze. Neither of us was in the doghouse for long. Cheap lager on a summer’s day. Lovely.