When I started this nonsense I was inspired primarily by challenging a few opinions that had become established truths among beer geeks through mere repetition. Namely that cheap booze was a great evil and standard regular products were rubbish only the undiscerning drank. You might spot the obvious logical flaw in this. Firstly cheap is relative. Even if you set a minimum price that within time becomes cheap. Whatever floor you set becomes the bottom. Secondly if the great British public were to abandon mainstream products and adopt any niche product en mass, then that product by default becomes mainstream and those seeking a smug sense of self satisfaction and superiority will have to go find something else to champion.
In truth mainstream products are okay. They may not be the finest product on Gods Earth but they are of a standard enough people consider acceptable at a price that people consider to be worth it.
However reading this is the guardian prompted me to question some of the offers currently doing the rounds, cheap beer wise. When this rubbish started off 3 boxes of 18 for £20 were pretty common. I lamented when the offers reduced to boxes of 15. Of late the offers have been on boxes of 12. Currently Tesco are flogging boxes of 12 for 2 for £16. It strikes me as quite poor. Working out the price of a pint of Carling your getting 18 pints (for that is 24 440ml cans) for £16 or 89p a pint. For the 5% beers like Carlsberg Export you’re looking at £1.33 a pint (24 half pint bottles for £16). The grog is getting pricier or the offers are not really about at the moment. Maybe it will improve by Xmas but by comparison I worked out the price per pint of a premium "authentic" beer.
My choice of what constitutes this may not be yours. Bitburger German Lager may be just as industrially produced a lout as any, but in the UK it markets at a premium on the single bottles with all the other “premium” beers. This is running at 3 pint size bottles (okay half litre but I can’t be arsed quibbling) for £4, or £1.33 a pint. The same price as the cooking lager. Plenty of the premium ales are priced 3 for £4 and are in or around the 5% abv mark.
Whoaa, what’s going on? As a cooking lager enthusiast my basic principle is to get a few beers down me as cheaply as possible. I’ve nothing against premium authentic beer, it’s just that I don’t mind the standard brands and flogged cheaply they hit the spot. But when they are not flogged cheaply, what’s a cooking lager enthusiast to do? It’s all in the price. Just as the posh beers are really not as great as the beards would have you believe and the lout not as bad as they make out, I’ve nothing against necking the posh beers. There ain’t no brand loyalty, just loyalty to your own pocket and hard earned wedge. If cheap enough, cheers. Shop around, do the maths. Currently the premium posh stuff isn’t retailing at a premium over the standard stuff and worth a sniff.
I'll be turning into a beer geek if this carries on.