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

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Beer Quality


I got an email a few days back from a chap that was obviously hawking something. I usually bin off such stuff unless they are offering me free beer in which case I wholeheartedly express my support and enthusiasm for their endeavour. For the record the chap was hawking the following tat here. It’s only worth looking at for the couple of pretty girls and the menu “getting good head” which made me snigger, at least. I like the puerile end of comedy.

His email got me thinking though, what are the attributes of good beer? My conclusions are as follows

Price.

A beer can never be too cheap. Free is the best price but as a preference, a price of buttons is preferable to an arm and a leg. A beer can be too expensive, for sure, but never too cheap.

Temperature

A beer can never be too cold. Even a beer ice lolly is good. A beer can often be too warm, but never too cold. Ice cold lovely lout slips down a treat and doesn’t touch the sides.

Fizz

I don’t think I’ve ever had a beer that I thought was too fizzy. I’ve had limp flat pongy beer all too often, but never one I thought was too fizzy. Fizz is the sparkle that tickles the senses.

Conclusion

The greatest beer in the world has to be the cheapest, coldest fizziest beer there is, and it is possible to measure each factor. The price is clear, the temperature easily ascertained and the fizziness apparent from the power of the subsequent belch after the first swig. By this simple test it is possible to work out whether a beer is proper real cooking lager or just overpriced warm flat pongy muck you want to avoid lest you get stung.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Saturday Lie In

The best comedians ever to grace a television

For those that still read this rubbish, you might like to know that I am also on twitter. I cannot in all honesty recommend you follow me on twitter because frankly I wouldn’t. Those that do get treated to enlightening thoughts every so often on the lines of “oo, I could do with a can of lout about now” and not much else. You’d be quite justified in thinking you were not missing that much. Much like this blog, really.

However twitter has lots of other people on it that often say interesting things. Note I say interesting and not intelligent, thought through or even correct. From people exposing footballers that sleep with their sister in law, to people moaning about phone hacking journalists or even low grade big brother celebs having public slanging matches with other even lower grade big brother celebs, all of human life is as they say here. It can be a fascinating thing to tune in or out of.

It’s a pity then that on Saturday mornings I miss the amusing but pointless and futile attempts by a small group of beer bloggers to get some beer onto a Saturday morning TV show called Saturday Kitchen. Saturday Kitchen is one of those shows it’s really not worth getting out of bed on a Saturday morning for. There used to be proper shows on a Saturday morning like Going Live which featured the best comedians ever to grace the TV (not including the Chuckle Brothers which are the actual best ever), Trevor & Simon. It is a travesty they are not on TV anymore yelling “We don’t do duvets” at the kids of Britain. Now I would tweet a campaign to bring them back.

My view of Saturday mornings basically is that when I was I kid I had to get up because my mum made me. A combination of Trevor and Simon and Coco Pops made it tolerable. As an adult my lovely lady occasionally makes me get up because we are going somewhere but by and large I can lie in bed and if she suggests I get up I can do one of 3 things. Drag her under the duvet and make hot passionate love to her, gently slap her on the arse, say “cup of tea wouldn’t go amiss, treacle” and await her hitting me with a pillow and then dragging her under the duvet and make hot passionate love to her or last but not least farting then dragging her under the duvet and laughing before making hot passionate love to her. The farting is what we northern English types like to also call “foreplay”. The hot passionate love I am assured is the best 90 seconds (yes, we do it 3 times) of her weekend and she is so overcome with pleasure I then end up making the tea myself.

So all in all I miss Saturday Kitchen. From what I gather I am not missing much. Some people cook some stuff, some celebs plug whatever it is they are plugging and most controversially some barstool actually recommends a bottle of wine to go with the grub that’s been knocked up. The dirty rotten wine drinking barstool. How dare he? Words cannot express the obvious disgust that someone would dare suggest a bottle of fruity nice wine available in a supermarket for around a fiver that goes with grilled sea bass.

Someone ought to take him round the back of the studio and knock some sense into him until he goes out and buys some of Hardknott Dave’s lovely pongy but expensive and difficult to get hold of proud British beer! You can follow this noble campaign to get the TV to promote and plug Dave’s beer here, here and here and join the objection to a TV cookery show that so far refuses to promote and plug Dave’s beer. Don’t mention that TV has had a few beer related TV shows in recent years even though they have been sub Top Gear banter type rubbish featuring a Top Gear presenter, a comedian, a wine buff that likes beer or even an actor off a sitcom and his mate opening a pub because they have never mentioned Dave’s beer.

I cannot be bothered to get up and watch Saturday Kitchen and tweet along but please make sure you do. I think I speak for lovers of cheap lager everywhere when I express my unwavering support for the endeavour. We cannot let these wine drinking sods win and don’t stop until they feature Dave’s beer on their telly show!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

They're here already.


It started, for me it started one Thursday. There was no expectation on my part for what was about to happen, no pre warning, no hints that something wasn’t quite right. It was before Colin Valentine of the political wing of CAMRA had pointed the guns of his esteemed beer club at the ranks of beer bloggers. I had heard rumours for sure about “ale jihadists” but always thought it a humorous term for those that took their love of pongy ale that bit too seriously. Those that did more than simply appreciate what for the most part is reasonably decent if a bit pongy grog. Those that give the appearance at least of fighting a war against lager rather than just appreciating and promoting their personal tastes.

How wrong can you be? There I was in the car park of Tesco, loading some San Miguel into the boot of the car and before you know it a sack was thrown over my head and I was bundled into the back of a Ford Transit. Who are you? What do you want? I cried with fear in my voice as I heard and felt the van speed away.

“We saw you in the supermarket buying 3 boxes of cheap lager for £20. We are the paramilitary wing of CAMRA, what reasoned argument will not solve, we sort out. We are taking you to a pub and we are going to make you drink cask ale until you damn well get used to it and start to like it. You’ll thank us for it, in the end”

“But my car, my cheap lager, what’s going to happen to it?” I begged.

“Your car will be put in your driveway, the dirty cheap lout will be poured down a grid and we’ve got your phone. We’ve texted your missus that you’ve joined a sexually deviant religious cult and won’t be back for a bit so don’t keep dinner warm”

I felt despair. I felt fear. It’s free country I thought. I would never stop anyone from making their own beer choices, why would they wish to prevent me?” It all became clear. This was a group that advocated the madness of minimum prices for cans of lager. Good God I realised, they were capable of anything. What torture would I have to endure with these madmen?

The hood came off; I was sat in what appeared to be the cellar of a pub. I heard the rumble of tatty bearded old men walk above and discussions regarding the true origin of IPA and an argument about sparklers. The smell of pongy ale was overpowering. They gave me a pint of dark pongy liquid they referred to as “bitter” alongside a bag of something called “pork scratchings” which appeared to be little more than salted cooked fat. “Get that down you, lager lout” they taunted.

“You can’t do this to me” I pleaded “I’m a beer geek too, I have a beer blog and everything, please, for God’s sake please, a can of Foster’s, have you no humanity?”

I heard a rasp “Foster’s Blogger? Worse than a lager lout, a £4 a half craft keg drinker no doubt, you’ll be here a while, young man”

“No, No, my blog is about cheap lager, Google cooking lager, let me go and I’ll be nice about beards, sandals and this warm pongy muck you’re making me drink”

They started to mutter among themselves. I heard “He’s like the first impression that's stamped on a coin. He isn't finished.” I heard nought from them for days but all that was brought to me was pint after pint of warm flat pongy bitter and pork scratchings. Hunger and thirst finally got the better of me and I succumbed to the pongy beer. It slipped down and reminded me of the perfection of cheap lager, like an echo of what beer could be. I begged them, I told them I was converted but they didn’t believe me. I never knew fear until I supped pong. A man returned and said he’d been looking at the cooking lager blog and I was the worst sort of beer blogger and would be here imprisoned for a while. Days turned to weeks, weeks into months then a new bearded man arrived. He had a bad haircut and a weird 1980’s jumper. He showed me a pair of sandals and beige trousers and asked me what I thought. I saw my chance. “That’s quite dapper” I told him. “He has passed the test” I heard from the back of the room. I was handed the sandals and beige clothes to wear. I put them on. They gave me a CAMRA card and some wetherspoons vouchers. A hand was placed softly on my shoulder and a voice said

“Less than a month ago, Santa Mira was like any other town. People with nothing but problems. Pubs with nothing but keg lager and smooth bitter. Then, out of St Albans came a solution. Seeds drifting through space for years took root in a farmer's field. From the seeds came beer ingredients which had the power to reproduce themselves in the exact likeness of beer ingredients... It takes you over cell for cell, atom for atom. There is no pain. Suddenly, while you're asleep, it absorbs your mind, your memories and you're reborn into an untroubled world...Now you’re one of us...There's no need for lager... Lager. Lager. Without it, life is so simple, believe me.

“It may sound harsh, but we did it for your own good, son, you can now step back into the world, now what are you drinking”

I wasn’t thinking, it came out of my mouth before I could think “Pint of Carling, please” I uttered. I heard gasps of horror and they reeled back but a saw a chink of light and ran for it. Up some stairs and I was in a pub. I moved though the crowd. My disguise of sandals and beige made me identical to the rest of the punters. The discussion about IPA and sparklers was still ongoing. Keep your eyes a little wide and blank. Show no interest or excitement, I thought. I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror. I had a beard and a haunted expression. I ran for the door. And so I ran. I ran! I ran! I ran! I ran as little Jimmy Grimaldi ran the other day. I ran through the road. Cars swerved and beeped their horns. I shouted. Help! Wait! Stop. Stop and listen to me!... These people who're coming after me are not human!. Look, you fools, you're in danger! Can't you see?! They're after you! They're after all of us! Our wives, our children, everyone! THEY'RE HERE, ALREADY! YOU'RE NEXT!

Don't just sit there measuring me for a straightjacket, call for help!