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

Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Sink Pour

Observers will note this blog ran out of steam some years hence to be revived only occasionally if I thought of a way to amuse myself by being rude about the patently ridiculous hobby of “beer enthusiasm”, one of many ways middle class people intellectualize getting pissed to draw a line between themselves and working class people, some of whom also like getting pissed, but do so in a vulgar manner.

The actress, Dana Wynter. For no reason whatsoever. I could not think of a photo to go with this and recently watched the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers of which she is in and wondered whether there was a way of shoehorning a photo of her drinking a beer into a blog somehow.

It has dawned on me that my years of study of beer geekery have presented me with some knowledge both of beer enthusiasm and its ludicrous adherents. Further such a hobby is gaining more and more enthusiasts. Especially among millennials that have no hope of acquiring the symbols and objects of wealth and success of their parents and seek a way to feel better about still renting homes and travelling on buses long after full time education by making a symbol and object of an overpriced beer. I mean, tweeting about the vulgarians you have to share public transport with can only get you so far. You need the security of knowing you drink pricier beer than the Primark clad unwashed fuckers and their Lynx Africa aroma.

Are you are one of these millennials wanting to fit in and uncertain how? You’ve got the skinny jeans, cultivated a stupid beard you wrapped in an elastic band and are sat in a brew dog bar paying £8 for small glass of beer but feeling a bit of a fraud. Maybe in those moments of angst and regret during a stinking craft hangover? (Different from a regular hangover in that if its craft you can pretend you are not an alkie)That someone will discover you don’t really mean any of this lifestyle, that it’s just an affectation you hoped would pull you that sulky Goth chick you want to notice you? That people will realise you’d rather just wear sports casual and have a pint of Kronenbourg?

Fear not I am here to explain how you convince others you are genuine beer enthusiast of discernment and taste. In a series of posts I will explain in detail various aspects of beer geekery to practice and understand. By no means comprehensive but enough to grasp more than the basics and put into practice. Before you can say “Jesus Christ, how much? it’s only 2 beers for fucks sake pal” and give the game away I will have you leaving that unsatisfactory job in an office selling office supplies with an employee of the month award on your desk in shape of a paperclip that did not come with any actual money alongside it and making a living as a self-employed beer evangelist/communicator/blogger, part time barman, and reliant on the generosity of your parents well into your thirties.  The type of job that gets the girls and will require the acquisition of a shitty stick to fight them off with. A craft shitty stick whittled by a retired accountant from an artisanal shop. Not one you found in the park.

Lesson 1. The Sink Pour

This is most counter intuitive lesson of all. It’s not about what you drink it’s about what you pour down the sink. You think being discerning is about pouring something you think of as better down your neck? No, nada, nein, non, nope. It’s about what you refuse to pour down your neck.

As a species we have evolved a sense of smell and taste to identify rotten food that might make us ill and therefore avoid it and by survival, increase our chances of procreating prior to death. For this reason it’s not a bad idea to utilize this evolutionary advantage and throw away rotten food that might make you ill. Food in the fridge a day or two past its use by date? Bit of a whiff coming off something? Why take the chance? Why gamble with spending the following day on the shitter regretting every minute of “not wasting” something that in the first place cost buttons? For fucks sake, it was 50p from Aldi. Bin it, buy another.

Take this beyond that simple principle and beyond even that. Far beyond. Your palate is so precious, so cultured, a tool of your beery hobby, a vehicle for your discernment that you could no more pollute it with substandard fare than you could procreate with your own mother. Allowing something as crude, as vile, as filthy, as something you don’t much care for past your lips is a betrayal of a palate you have been carefully training and developing over many years. A palate you ought to get insured for a million pounds lest you accidently ingest an Iceland or Farmfoods canapé at a working class cousin’s engagement buffet.

Now most people may upon opening a beer they don’t much like think, heh it’s not going to make me ill, I just don’t much like it. I’ll make it into a shandy and neck it. I doubt I’ll buy it again but it’ll be a pity to waste it, considering I paid money for it and all. Actually it makes a decent enough shandy, this is nice. I’ll finish off the other one too, and then it’s gone. So long as it’s not going to make you ill, it’s just a matter of taste and opening a can of Sprite Zero into it isn’t a crime, surely?

It is, my friend, it is. You are not most people. You are a beer enthusiast. Shandy? Oh good god. You don’t even call it that; you refer to it by its German nomenclature of Radler. You did not train your palate to drink shandy. By logical extension then the more you throw away, the more things you wouldn’t let past your lips, the more refined and discerning your palate is. By “sink pouring” every craft beer you buy you automatically become the most discerning craft beer communicator of them all. More than those vulgarians that actually let it past their lips and drink it. You win.

So my friend. Wanna convince ‘em you’re the real deal. Pour it away. It’s fit only for the sink.

Next Week. Lesson 2.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Pub Men

Blogging about blogging is when another blog inspires you to write a post of your own. Mathews cracking blog about the decline of pubs is what’s done it. Have a read of it here.

Whilst I’ve never been that sentimental about pubs, seeing them as businesses and no different from any other, I do get how people can be sentimental. I was never that bothered when Woolworths went the way of the dodo and whilst there’s a couple of pubs I quite like and go in enough that the barmaid asks me how I am, I’d survive and find somewhere else to sit and read a paper whilst the squeeze potters around the shops, if they shut. A shrug of the shoulders rather than a placard is my response to the death of the pub. I did feel sentimental enough to pop into C&A when I spotted they are still going in Germany and did even buy something. An umbrella as it was raining. Not enough to campaign to bring C&A back to the UK, though.

Think about it. We redefine this field as a pub then us Pub Men can go stand in it with her, and she has a spare beer she doesn't need that she might give you. Win win.

Then I got thinking about what a pub is, whether I will ever gain the accolade I most desire of “Pub Man” from the TAND. I figured not as I don’t fit the criteria. That of going in pubs a lot and liking them. I have more a utilitarian use of them which limits the former and precludes the latter.

What if we recognised that a pub is just a room people sit or stand in to socialize, have a drink or occasionally read the paper and be left alone? Does the drink have to be booze?

What if we redefined coffee shops as pubs? People sit in them and drink coffee and read the paper? They are doing much as am on a Sunday afternoon when I drink a pint of bitter in a pub and flick through the torygraph? What if gyms were redefined as pubs? Many people seem to go there to stand around and talk whilst drinking a cheesy tasting milkshake that is apparently full of protein from the addition of whey, a cheese by product?

If we did this then pubs are no longer in decline. Pubs are in rude health and increasing. Pubs are enjoying a renaissance! Pubs are safe and relevant to the kids too!

But they ain’t pubs, I hear you cry? Really? What about the CAMRA award winning pubs with a Maitre d' that ask you whether you are dining and don’t let you have a table if all you want is a pint and packet of cheese and onion? Them’s pubs are they? So long as it looks like a Victorian or Edwardian living room it’s a pub is it? Even if it’s actually a restaurant? Howay with you.

Anything can be a pub. A pub is an idea. It is ethereal. A pub is of the mind, not of the physical. Anything can be a pub. A private shed can be a pub. Anything you want to be a pub can be a pub. That, my friends, is freedom.

What is more, if we accept that anything can be a pub, I can say my sofa is one and then the TAND will have to acknowledge and credit me with the honour of “Pub Man”. He will just have to.