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

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Chemical Fizz

I have been searching the world, well Tesco to Morrisons to Sainsbury’s to find the elusive beer called “chemical fizz” ever since I discovered beer blogs. What was this intriguing grog I wondered? Where could I get it? what did it taste like?, how much did it cost?

Finally the search is over. I’ve discovered a beer that is bona fide chemical fizz, and lovely it is too!

Tesco Finest Kriek Bier, a Belgian Cherry Beer on the special at 97p a bottle seems a bit pricey for 250ml of 3.2% grog even on discount but when I saw the ingredients I almost whooped aloud in joy.

Water, malt, Wheat, Hops, Sugar, Cherry Juice, Flavour, Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Artificial Sweetener. Good God, it’s the Holy Grail of beer, it’s chemical fizz! I mean Propylene Glycol Alginate! Yes Yes Yes! Chemical Fizz!

Propylene Glycol Alginate is E405 to chemical fizz fans. An emulsifier, stabilizer and thickener used everything from food to polymer production. In beer it improves the performance of the bubble.

The thing about chemicals is that they are genuinely healthy. On a basic level food preservatives extend human life rather than reduce it by the simple act of reducing food poisoning caused by rotten food. All the organic hippy health nuts basically are wrong. Human longevity has been increasing all the time food production has been industrialised and chemical food additives have been used. These chemicals go through testing and pass safety tests natural ingredients would fail. Most people over the age of 60 are alive because of a diet of unnatural chemicals prescribed by doctors to thin blood, reduce cholesterol and regulate the functioning of organs. In short if it’s got an E number it’s good for you. Organic vegans beware; you are going to die early.

I’ve drunk a few fruit beers before. Bacchus, Fruli and the like, and have long known I quite like this type of fruity girly grog. You know what? I’m cool with that. It’s the 21st century, I’m happy with my feminine side. I have no more a problem drinking fizzy pink wine as borrowing a dab of the squeezes moisturiser after a shave. Shave. Google it. It’s what none beer geeks do. It involves razors and foam and stuff.

But what is this chemical fizz like? Bloody lovely. Fruity, fizzy with a nice thicker mouthfeel you don’t quiet get from real proper alcopops. If an alcopop is a sorbet, this is a scoop of ice cream. One of these days I might bother to try an actual sour lambic beer but as the popular style is to fruit them up to make them palatable I’m not looking forward to it. It’s the sugar and the chemicals that make it so nice.

They should put sugar and chemicals in everything. Let’s face it, Frosties are nicer than Corn Flakes, Vimto is nicer than water and chemical fizz is soooo much nicer than pong.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Pub etiquette

Today’s post has been inspired by top beer blogger Mudge. In attempting to improve the shoddy behaviour of pub goers, and in particular CAMRA members, he has in my opinion been unfairly criticised.

I think much of the disagreement comes out of looking at only one of the many disgraceful actions of the pub going of his beer club by it’s members, rather than provide a guide to pub etiquette for regular drinkers.

So may I attempt to define one? After all, one is clearly required. You can only combat ignorance with education.

The pub goer ought not to expect standards of service common in other retail outlets or even common across the bars of Europe. The UK pub is an environment all it’s own and those foolhardy enough to venture into them ought not to think that experience of other customer outlets is at all relevant. Nope, this represents ignorance of the highest order. A degree of ignorance on a par with drinking anything that is a popular national brand and is available “on keg”

Upon venturing into a pub one ought first to expect to pay top dollar for mediocrity. Any other expectation is plain ignorance. Take out a second mortgage for you will be paying prices 6 times that of a cheap can of supermarket lager for the privilege of drinking it out of a glass. Expect the glass to be scratched and displaying the faded name of a beer quite different to that in the glass, the one you have asked for. Do not expect the standard of cleanliness you might expect at home. The table will be sticky with the dried beer stains of previous customers; the seats stained with peculiar unidentifiable marks and the toilets are best left not ventured into.

I say this because pub toilets are best left, full stop. Better to hold it than ever contemplating stepping foot in one. To do so might involve the type of shock that will require therapy, at great expense and many years.

You cannot expect to sit down and be served a drink, expect to go to the bar. Do not expect a smile, expect a surly weary resignation by the person who is about to pour you a drink and charge you an arm and a leg for the privilege. You have received a great compliment by being served at all, the bar staff are within their right to ignore you completely whilst they piss about with the till for half an hour. You have to remember that as a customer you are an impediment to the smooth running of their pub and be grateful for what you receive. Expect any number of fonts to be “off”, and the choice to be far smaller than it initially appears. Never expect ice in any drink. Expect no clear indication of the sum of monies you will be asked to hand over prior to asking for your pint. This great mystery is part of the tradition and character of the great British pub and to question it is too show your great ignorance. Only expect that when you eventually discover the price, it is likely to be eye watering.

This great institution must be supported, and it is your great privilege to pay top dollar for what elsewhere might be considered overpriced mediocrity. By doing so you are displaying your great enlightened wisdom. After drinking your drink, take your empty glass to the bar. If you have an empty plate take that too alongside any empty crisp and peanut bags. At the bar ask for a dishcloth and bottle of cif cleaner and proceed to clean the pub. Also ask whether they want the toilet cleaned too. Do not think for one minute that the pub employs people to do that, and it is their job of work. Do not show your outstanding ignorance; accept the great privilege of them allowing you in to spend your money in their boozer. The people employed to pour drinks, take orders, clear and clean tables are best at laconically pissing about with the till, or reading a newspaper behind the bar and ignoring any punter that walks in.

So don’t be ignorant. Once you’ve paid an arm and a leg for an overpriced beer and fetched it yourself from the bar, be prepared to take the empty glass back to the bar. If you don’t offer to do the washing up to boot, you are frankly pig ignorant. Also stick a mop up your arse so you might clean the floor on your way out.

And don’t for one minute think it’s easier to just pop into Tesco’s for a slab of lovely cheap grog as that’s ignorant too. Remember these important rules and one-day you too can find yourself drinking in one of Britain’s great pubs and doing your bit to save them from extinction.

Well said, Mudge!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

This is a local pub for local people, there is nothing for you here!

Many and varied are the types of establishment one can get a drink. From a trendy bar or restaurant to a grim dumpy pub, the choice is as they say all yours. Whilst the sensible choose a nice drink at home at reasonable cost, many like to throw hard earned money away drinking in grim pubs, and who are we, cooking lager enthusiasts, to criticise? If that’s what some people like to do, good luck to them. If the picture is too small, click on it for a bigger one.

In the spirit of beer brotherhood I present a pub called “The Albion” in Chester. I was in Chester recently and had a walk along the Roman wall to kill an hour before a meeting and encountered a sign for a family “hostile” pub that to be honest amused me more than it attracted me in. Good god, I’d rather have a tooth pulled than step foot in such a place, but heh ho, if it’s your cup of tea look it up.

I suspect the hostile and unwelcoming establishment has won awards from bearded types, and I suspect further they stock a wide range of pongy ale and could very well be full of old men in white beards fighting the good fight against chemical fizz and informing me “old scrote” is drinking well today. I hold no hope of a lovely fizzy ice cold pint of lout on a summer’s afternoon.

Enjoy, but please don’t expect us “normals” to ever get the appeal.

For the record I also saw a Slug and Lettuce offering buy one get one free on cocktails. Slippery nipple cheap grog fans?

Sunday, 17 April 2011


Not been on the beer blogs for a while. When one is tired of beer blogging is one tired of life? But it wasn’t boredom so much as being very busy. Busy to the point of spending my days doing the job I’m paid to do rather than pissing about on the Internet. Busy going for a few job interviews. Busy hawking my dubious talents in the UK & abroad. Busy doing jobs around the house the squeeze wants doing because she seems a little more bothered about such things as peeling wallpaper than I am. Oh and I got a Nintendo 3DS which in the great league of things I currently confess to liking more than I like cheap lager. For the first day I got it I even preferred it to sex, but there is only so much Ridge Racer 3D you can play before you realise you can progress through the levels far quicker playing with the squeeze than you can playing video games.

There isn’t any NDS files to download for this toy yet so the games I’m playing are all legit. If any other cheap lager enthusiasts follow things Nintendo, feel free to keep me informed when compatible flashcards like R4 are released.

That’s not to say I haven’t been keeping an eye on the cheap lager. Sainsbury’s had a decent offer on Beck’s at £6.99 for a box of 15 but with Easter on it’s way I’m rubbing my hands at the 3 for £20 offers I’m hoping Tesco bring out. What better way to celebrate an important date in the calendar of our Lord and saviour than to mark both Easter and the Royal wedding with a river of cheap lager?

Whilst we await these bank holidays and hope for good weather so we can sit in the garden with an ice cold can of lout and not be at work I came to realise what a lucky man I am. I really do believe I have finally trained up the squeeze in the art of cheap lager. Whilst doing the shop I purchased some microwaveable pies that offered the promise of a free beer. I put the code off the sticker into the website and awaited my token. Whilst I was away the first of these arrived and the good lady used it in my absence to buy me some cheap lager. Seeing a 3 bottles for £4 offer and being keen to use all of the £2 voucher she bought me 3 bottles of Bitburger for all of £2. She is both a creature of outstanding beauty and intelligence. Doubling up on the offers is a trick I have been slowly brainwashing her into. Got a fiver token at a supermarket? Be in no hurry. Wait for a super cheap lager offer and wallop another fiver off it! Double bubble. The good lady is learning the art of cheap lager and it can only mean our love grows deeper. I have a further 2 tokens from the nice pie people and cannot wait for cheap lager to get cheaper.

As for what Bitburger is like. Not bad at all. A nice drop of lout. Quite sharp and hoppy, with that lovely resinous quality that comes from hop extract and I really rather like it. A nice change, and well worth the buttons paid.