Sunday 1 June 2014

Lager than Life

Summer has raised its ugly head again, and travelling about as I do you see some interesting sights.  Wobbly cyclists on the A6 not wearing hi-vis. Shaven-headed men wearing nothing but khaki shorts and a pair of flip-flops.  But mostly people sitting outside. Sitting outside pubs. Sitting outside pubs drinking lager.

Much has been said about the British predilection for lager over the last 30 years. And not much of that has been positive. If there's on thing the Crafties and the Beards are united on, it's that lager is shit. Apparently people are idiots, and drink lager because they're told to by advertisers.  Lacking any refinement or culture, they swill down taste-free yellow fizz, unable or unwilling to consider consuming anything better.

But...what if these people actually like lager and, in fact, prefer it to other beers?

Britain has traditionally been a mild and bitter drinking nation. This is likely because that was what was available and most importantly cheapest at pubs.  Lager was there in pubs from 1900-60, but was generally imported and quite pricey.  But with advent of keg technology and cheap refrigeration, lager grew in popularity after that. Until we reach today, where 75% of all pub pints are lagers of some description.

People are not "idiots" for preferring lager. It's what they want. It could be said that lager is the ultimate in beers.  Clean, cold, crisp, and most of all consistent. Despite what your average Crafty would say, if you gave most beer drinkers a pint of Hopfuck, they would grimace and say "I can't drink that."

Snobbery does nobody any favours. I personally prefer beer with more flavour, but it ill-behoves me to criticise anybody for their choice of drinks.


  1. Completely agreed, and in a sense it must be refreshing to be free of the constant fear of getting a dodgy pint. Ultimately, though, mass-market lager tends to be a bit dull and bland, but there are many occasions where it must be preferable to a questionable, lukewarm pint of obscure real ale.

  2. It's worth remembering that the Wrexham lager company was first established in 1882.

    There's nothing worse than snobs who denigrate other people's choices. Food snobs would probably look down their noses at the food a lot of beer snobs choose to eat. A lot of people aren't interested in experimenting when they go to the pub, so if they find a drink that suits them, they'll stick with it. They like to know exactly what they're getting and it's usually an adjunct to what they've gone to the pub for; it is less likely to be the sole purpose.

    I don't agree that most real ale drinkers denigrate the choices of lager drinkers, but the bad mannered minority that do can be quite vocal. A local CAMRA magazine (not the one I used to edit) likes to refer to beer that isn't real ale as 'zombeers', which is juvenile in the extreme. Liking real ale, or liking good food for that matter, doesn't make you a snob. Being dismissive of other people's choices does.

  3. "Food snobs would probably look down their noses at the food a lot of beer snobs choose to eat."

    Just look at the average CAMRA beer festival...

  4. So you're saying the chemical fizz drinkers are not ignorami?