Monday 27 October 2014

When I'm Breaking Windows

Not closed pub. Surprising in Preston, I know
I was in the pub last Wednesday night. Surprising I know, but as I've said before the Moorbrook is the premier outlet for Evil Keg in Preston. I was dared to drink a whole pint of Mad Hatter's Manchester Tart. I took them up and finished it with ease. It wasn't even the sourest beer I'd that week.

I went home as usual at 11pm and left the place in full working order (apart from the Evil Keg sour beer that nobody else likes). Imagine my surprise the following morning when the pub's owners posted this photo on Facebook.
Mudgie declares entire pub as "outside" and smoker friendly
Yes, Preston is dangerous even at 4am. Apparently the knob population was staggering back from the town centre and spied the casks piled up beside the Moorbrook. Lots of road rolling fun there, they thought.

Rich, the manager, lives on the premises and heard this, and naturally went out to remonstrate. Sadly, one of the aforementioned knobs took exception and went fist-first through the window (a good measure of how drunk he was, because he could have just lobbed an empty cask at it).

So, Preston is now one 150-year-old frosted glass pub window down, but it's gained an utter cock with a badly sliced up arm. Yes, you can imagine the sympathy pouring in for him from all quarters.  I'm guessing they'll be some kind of fundraising thing to pay for a replica window. My guess is for the thick end of £2000.

The Moorbrook now has one boarded up window. Hope people don't think it's shut again. I'll have to ask Mudgie if anyone's submitted it to Closed Pubs yet.

Thursday 23 October 2014

News in Brief #5

Close Relatives Planning To Buy You Terrible Beer Gift

Jumpers don't seem that bad now

As the Christmas Season approaches (from a long way away), entire families are plotting to purchase bad quality and massively overpriced ale-related presents to give to a relative who "likes beer"

Edith Poorchoice, 82, of Market Harborough wondered aloud "Eeeh, I know my nephew's in Camera, or whatever it's called.  But I can't seem to choose between this Doom Bar and Glass Gift Set for £10, or this half pint tankard with his name on it for £12.  I know he'd love both, but it's so tricky deciding"

Edith's nephew, Brian Hapless, 43, whinged to us "Every year it's the fucking same.  Last year it was a 'yard of lager' gift set from Asda.  The year before it was "Craft Ale" box from Tesco consisting of 250ml bottles of Greene King Yardbird,  Whitstable Bay and Marston's Oyster Stout.  I'd rather she bought me Boak & Bailey's book, even though I have 2 copies already. " "

"Or even nothing at all.  The loft is getting full now."

Global Warming Blamed On Craft Beer


In a stunning "rant" article in his local CAMRA magazine, East Grizedale Branch Treasurer Greg Steakbake claimed that Climate Change has been caused by the rise in consumption of "Craft Keg".

"When you order one of these so called beers, what do you see?  Carbon Dioxide!  And with every bubble bursting and even the gas used to pump the stuff out increases the Carbon Footprint load of every person drinking it.".

"And," he continued with no scientific evidence whatsoever "is it any coincidence that the world started warming up in the 1960s and 70s.  Yes - when Watney's were making all that Red Barrel!"

Steakbake concluded his article on this downbeat note "It would be a massive tragedy if 'Craft Keg' were to dominate the pubs on Britain, producing all that CO2.  The world as we know it may end, but frankly it wouldn't be worth living anyway if I couldn't get my pint of Black Sheep Bitter."

Brewer Planning Seasonal Beer

Cliche-free zone here, honest
Lehybisons Brewery announced in a press release today to somebody or other about it's new releases which will be seen in it's pubs in the next couple of weeks.

"As you know, we at Lehybisons have gained a great reputation for originality and standing out from the crowd as far as our beers go.  Not for nothing are we known as great innovators, avoiding the cliches that other Regional Brewers use towards the end of Autumn.  It is with great pride we announce our seasonal ales for late Oct ober and early November.

Available from 25th October is Lehybison's Jack'O Lantern Ale, a 3.9% amber ale flavoured with, yes, Pumpkin!  And following on from that a week later will be Guy's Plotters' Porter, a 4.1% dark ale made with brown malt and flavoured with treacle.

I hope everyone will be as excited by these beers as we've been by brewing them!"

We asked Richard Gluedtobar, a lone pub barnacle in his local Lehybison's pub what he thought of the news.

"Jesus fucking Christ" he said.

Sunday 19 October 2014

I Wish I Was In Crafty Hipster Land

Tourist idiots, Yesterday. And pretty much every day.
It's always some sort of experience going back to a place where you've not been for several years.  Oh, THAT's not there anymore, oh THAT'S become a Starbucks, oh THAT'S been demolished for city regeneration. I remember experiencing this with Stoke, where very little from my childhood remain (some would say this is a good thing).

So, having a week off, I went to Edinburgh for a couple of days. I've stayed several times, but most recently in March 2010 (where I spent most of the time arguing with my ex, but that's another story).

Most of all I went for the drink, of which there is no shortage in Edinburgh. I availed myself of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society members rooms to try and get my £59 a year's worth and avoided places that advertised they had Belhaven Best and Deuchars IPA (you'd think they'd want to keep it quiet).

Most of all, I discovered that Edinburgh has been slowly taken over by Craft. The aforementioned places that used to be there are more often than not now trendy bars full of Evil Keg and hipsters.  Now, I'm not saying this is a bad thing exactly, and it's much preferable to dark pubs of 80 Shilling, but it is disconcerting when you didn't expect it.

Whereas it's fashionable on this blog to blame BrewDog for everything (I was reassured at the Edinburgh branch when a massively bearded barman was finally spotted), there are actually places that are even CRAFTIER than BrewDog.
I can't be bothered putting enough all the A's in "Craft" for this
So, eventually I reached The Hanging Bat on Lothian Street, after walking around for 90 minutes looking (I probably needed the exercise after the dubious drinking binges of the previous two days). I knew the place was Craft, but nothing prepared me for HOW Craft. It was like playing hipster bar bingo :

1. No pumpclips or keg font displays. Blackboard instead. Check.
2. Entirely decorated in weathered wood and reclaimed bricks. Check.
3. Bar staff either thin, bearded young men or very thin young women. Check.
4. All beers served in 2/3 measures. Check.
5. Onsite brewery on display out the back. Check
6. Urinals made from sawn-off beer barrels. Check
7.  (and this is the clincher) The taps in the Gents were keg fonts. Check.

Yes. It was the craftiest place I've ever been to. And that's saying something. Mark my words, every pub will be like this in 10 years.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

News In Brief #4

If it's keg, it must be 'craft', right?
BrewDog Stocking New Beer

Irony merchants and publicity generators BrewDog today announced that all their Craft Bars in the UK will be stocking John Smith's Extra Smooth from November 1st.  Bullshit-spouting hat-wearer James Watt shouted from a big platform in Edinburgh "The time has come for us to embrace nitrokeg bitter. Such concepts as 'flavour' and 'quality ingredients' are outdated old tat.  We will be selling the tasteless brown muck for £4.50 a pint, and £6 in London. To be enjoyed in an ironic fashion, of course."

Meanwhile, in Watford Wetherspoons boss Timbo Martin was reported to be quaking in his boots. Or perhaps not.

Happens all the time, apparently

CAMRA 'not sexist'

In their latest haphazard and ill-advised move, The Campaign for Real Ale Executive Committee have denied claims that they are a bunch of sexist dinosaurs who imagine they're living in an 80s episode of The Benny Hill Show.

Colin Valentine today signed off a press release saying "We don't know where people get these ideas. Just because we put out leaflets depicting scantily-clad girls being leered at by men doesn't mean we're a load of middle-aged misogynists."

"CAMRA fully supports all women working in the brewing and pub industry, whether they're barmaids, cleaners or hospitality samplers at Brewery events. These criticisms are entirely unfounded."

"Even my PA is female, you know. Who's the dinosaur now, eh?"

"You have to be old enough grow a huge beard, but young enough not to remember 4 channel TV"

Over 35-year-old spotted at IndyManBeerCon

Evil keg drinkers at the yearly crafty hipster fest were shocked last Saturday when a man close to middle age gained entrance and proceeded to ask about beer - "This is a beer festival, right? Got any best bitters? Butcombe? Bathams? Moorhouses?", he was reported to have said to terrified volunteer, skinny-jeans wearing WG Grace lookalike Jason Hirsute.

"It was horrible" Hirsute cried "I had no idea anyone would like beer under 8%"

Festival organisers gently escorted the man from the building and took him to the nearest Hyde's pub, leaving him with enough change for a pint of mild.

"I know it sounds awful, but we thought it was the kindest thing to do."

Monday 13 October 2014

Beard Club Misogyny Shocker

I'm sure many people reading this know that CAMRA as an organisation do not have the best reputation as being progressive about depictions of gender. But the shit has hit the fan today with the release of the above leaflet.

Apparently, this is CAMRA's young members' wing trying to appeal to the student youth of today. Notwithstanding the blatant sexism that even I, a man pushing 40, can pick up, I dread to think what will happen if and when this leaflet hits universities. Those places are stuffed with Gender Studies students on the lookout for things like this.

It makes me wonder who actually wrote and laid it out. My suspicions are that it was a middle aged man in CAMRA's publicity department who thought this is what da kidz were like these days. The Young Members department have insisted they didn't approve the content before printing. But it seems to have gone ahead nonetheless.  A strange lack of oversight to say the least.

#majorfail , as the young people are no doubt saying on their "social internets" now. You can sign a petition or something here.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Festival Non-report

EvilKegFest, yesterday

Just an average day. End of August. At work, on my break, playing about with my phone. Feel it buzz. Odd. An unfamiliar icon appears in the top left corner. Twitter private message. Don't get many of those.

"Hi, Matthew. Would you like free trade tickets to IndyManBeerCon?", it said. Am even more peculiarly, it was authentic. IndyManBeerCon WERE offering me free stuff. Thank you, I replied.

And so, Friday arrived. Inconsiderately, they'd scheduled the even for Retail Christmas Merchandising Week. Seen all that stuff appearing in your local shop, which you probably moan about saying " Bloody hell, it's only October". Well, someone has to put it out, usually staying until 3:30am to make the morning deadline.

That's what I'd been doing for the previous few days. And yes I was knackered. I woke up at 11 on the day and thought "I can't face this." You know you're in trouble when you're still tired after 8 hours sleep.  So I stayed in bed for the whole day. Reader, I was so out of it, I didn't even drink.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm not really a social bunny. I usually find beer festivals hard work, as I'm on my own and there's little else to do but drink. And one of the bitter ironies of alcohol is that it impairs your judgement at the times you need it the most.  I've got lost and confused numerous times. It makes life more interesting than it really should be.

So, you can imagine how I felt when waking up exhausted.  Spending 4 hours in an empty swimming pool in Manchester, drinking Evil Keg with crafty hipsters would not have been the best thing for me that day. People plus strong beer plus unfamiliar surroundings was too much to contemplate.

Maybe next year.