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.
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.