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

Monday, 23 May 2011

Blogging about blogging

Sometimes I like to offer my thoughts on things other than beer, but to give it some sort of tenuous connection here's a photo of big brother tart and subject of the most recent super injunction scandal Imogen Thomas taking a bath in some beer. Got a beer connection in. She's on the left. A different tart is on the right.

That's because I'd like to offer my thoughts on things freedom of speech and tittle tattle related.

I'm a child of television, the news when I grew up was on TV and the papers only offered yesterdays news and opinion and in the red tops tits and entertainment. However the Establishment have long controlled the news. I remember a report in the 80's regarding the miners strike. The report detailed the police response to violent strikers as they stormed them with horses and knocked seven shades out of them. Except it wasn't true. The police stormed a peaceful protest and the strikers stormed them back. The BBC edited it and the report was a lie.

I'm not one to defend Arthur Scargill. He didn't hold a national vote of his union and bullied many of his members with threats of violence to join his failed attempt to take on a democratically elected government. The fact he was a poor leader that used and abused his membership for a failed political gambit doesn't excuse the fact that the Establishment and the BBC lied in news reports.

Now unelected judges have failed in an attempt to silence the news media regarding what really is inconsequential tittle tattle regarding Ryan Giggs (if you've not heard) nailing a tart known for reality TV and getting her kit off in lads mags. The British courts even thought it possible to apply the injunction globally. I mean, you know, other countries have freedom of speech and care little for whatever idiocy British judges come out with. The arrogance.

All of this is irrelevant except of course if you wonder whether British High Court Judges (who of course have never been known to frequent brothels, enjoy a spanking and would never want to cover something up about themselves) might seek to cover up something in the public interest. Among the debate I think a change has come in regard to where we get the news and how we consume it.

If you want to know what is going on in the world, you don't look at TV. If you want to know who has been shagging it's not in the News of the World, it's on twitter and in the blogosphere. You know the days news before you get home from work, because Google News has streamed global news organisations to your PC or phone. You can read the paper of any country you like, when you like. You can compare the tits in Das Bild to The Sun to your hearts content, every morning. TV news is old news by the time you see it. If you want to know what occurred at a protest, it's on youtube. On youtube you can see the copper beating up the protester before Sky News & the Establishment have edited it to create the required narrative. The political class and judiciary cannot keep pace with a global tool of freedom of speech.

The shocker is that it is the British judiciary pondering how to control it. You'd kind of expect it to be one of these despotic regimes you read about.

On this scandal, the blogosphere and twitter became the source of news. Not just a bunch of nutters like me expressing opinions on things, but the actual news. Ha Ha Ha. I suspect we might be entering a time where you can honestly say "it's a free country, guv" and actually be correct in that assertion. It's cool this internet thing.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Draft Lout

Whenever I treat myself to a cooking lager gadget the squeeze’s response tends to veer between mild annoyance and open hostility. When I treated myself to a Chambrer mini keg chiller I got the open hostility end of the spectrum. I’m not sure why, for it is a thing of beauty. I mean, who doesn’t want a tap in the kitchen dispensing ice cold fizzy lager? It’s living the dream, so it is.

We haven’t got the space, you already have a separate beer fridge, and how much lager does one person need? Each objection was met with calm logic. We can make the space by more effectively using the space we have. Who needs toasters and kettles and bread bins and knife racks? This compliments the beer fridge, offering greater choice. You can put a bottle of Pinot Grigio in the beer fridge if you like. I’ll make the space by necking a few cans. A man can never have enough lager in the house. It’s an investment, a hedge against our inflationary economy. In the event of nuclear war we can make a bunker out of slabs of lager. None of these points really sunk in, women eh? Time of the month, no doubt. If it weren’t for my calm logic counter balancing her irrational emotive perspective we wouldn’t even have a dartboard up in the guest bedroom.
Despite being a thing of beauty, and wanting one for ages, it doesn’t really conform to the principles of cheap lager appreciation. Even on special offer the kegs represent a more expensive pint than that available in cans and bottles. £14.39 for a 5 litre keg of Heineken (£2 off) with 2 free Heineken glasses compared with £4 for 6 330ml cans also on the special. But it’s a gadget, cool for parties and cool for pouring a draft beer. The choice of beer kegs is limited to Heineken in regular shops but a wider choice exists in specialist outlets if you like paying £20+ for unpressurised kegs of Bitburger and the like. The Heineken kegs are easier to fit, cheaper and don’t require extra gas cylinders. I haven’t fitted a none pressured keg to it so I can’t tell you how well that works, but it looks slightly more complicated from the instructions. The pressured keg was a doddle to fit. Not sure exactly how long it takes to chill a keg as I fitted it up and didn’t pour a glass until the following day. 24 hours later it was chilled to perfection.

One odd note I’ve noticed for a while are the sizes of free promotional glasses. I’ve got half-pint glasses for beers that are sold in 330ml bottles. Heineken is sold in 330ml cans or bottles. The size of the free glasses? 440ml. Odd stuff. They are quite nifty looking though.

The beer? Ice cold delicious fizzy lout. Better heading and less fizzy than the cans but still with a nice fizz to it. I love it to bits, even though these 5 litre kegs seem to be on the way out in the UK market. Maybe that’s why I found a chiller for less than 70 sheets when the RRP is more like 150. The Carlsberg draught system died a death due to the kegs being twice the price of the canned beer and the cheaper draught unit having no chiller. The pretty nifty and well designed Carling draught system doesn’t seem to be knocking around the supermarkets either, despite being designed to fit in a regular fridge.

The Heineken kegs dominate a fridge they are put in, so the draught chiller is just the trick. I stocked up on the kegs just to make sure I get at least 6 months out of it.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Proper Beer

There are rare times, thankfully rare, where the cooking lager enthusiast can find himself in an establishment where there is no cooking lager. Unbelievable, maybe, in the 21st century but surprisingly true. The evolution of the pub is a story that is far from a story of progression from grim dump to cooking lager nirvana. Whilst many pubs embrace cooking lager offering all the choice a lout connoisseur could require of Carling, Fosters & Carlsberg alongside meals at 2 for £6 and a big telly showing the footie, some pubs appear resolutely stuck in the stone age.

It is never as much fun necking cooking lager in a modern forward thinking pub as the prices are £3+ and you don’t even get a touchy rubbable textured can like what Fosters are doing for 40p a pop in Tesco, but life can take you from the comfort of your own couch and the lout enthusiast must adapt. By all means moan about the prices, that is to be expected, but in the civilised world one must expect industrially produced light lager to be available. It’s a shocker when it isn’t.

Rubbable Texture

When in one of these backward pubs that don’t do cooking lager it is important to ask for it. “4 pints of Carling, please, treacle” should always be the first thing asked for even if it doesn’t appear on. It makes it clear that as a discerning customer you require the wholesomeness of cooking lager and none of this dark pongy muck. When told they don’t serve Carling a response of “Okay Fosters then” re-enforces the point that cooking lager really ought to be available. If they tell you they do authentic lager say, “alright then, Carlsberg will do”

At a push though, the question has to be answered of if you have to, what pong do you ask for? Let’s face it, it’s all much of a muchness. Dark, pongy, bitter and likely to give you a hangover. There are many breweries and brands, and what is being flogged this week will doubtless not be on next week so there is little point in remembering anything. The conclusion I have reached is to drink any pong I recognise that beer bloggers have knocked up. It will either be drinkable or not and no worse than any other pongy grog, but at least I’ve read the blokes blog and can post a rude comment if I feel like it. Possibly “Can I have my £2.80 back please?”

Thus having established there was no cooking lager, informing the bar tender that was a bit of a dead loss, and mentioning the Campaign for Cooking Lager is the most exciting new consumer group of 2011, and saying “Jesus, how much?” when informed of the stipend expected of me for the 4 pints, we opted for 4 pints of Hardknott Katalyst, a beer brewed by well known and popular beer blogger Hardknott Dave.

Lots of pong

Despite Dave’s poor spelling in his choice of beer name the beer actually wasn’t that bad as far as “real cask pong” goes. Quite neckable. After a couple I really wasn’t missing Fosters but maybe that’s because I knew I had a fridge full of the Amber Nectar at home. Would I recommend it? Well I’d recommend you sit at home and neck cheap cans of lager, but at a push it’s better than not drinking.

I’m fully expecting next time I step into a pub, in about 6 months time or something, there is at least a beer brewed by a beer blogger. If not I will have something else to moan about alongside the price of the grog.