Friday 19 February 2016


Remember when punks were like this?

Sadly, that was forty years ago and television is a much more controlled environment now. Those things don't happen any more.

But what would happen if a Punk got hold of a Craft Beer canning line? Hmm? What then?
Photo courtesy of Daniel J. Hunt
Perhaps the printer operator on that run was undergoing a disciplinary; perhaps they were leaving that week; perhaps they were just having a bad day. Who knows? But you'd think that such outrageous actions would have been heartily applauded by the "Punk" brewery they were working for. It could have been spun as a cocking of the snook towards the otherwise mundane world of the beer can. Think of the publicity! And if there's one thing we know this particular brewery likes, it's publicity.

Sadly, that's not what happened. Said brewery have not acknowledged that this even has occurred and has instead allegedly conducted a quiet withdrawal of the affected batch of sweary cans. It could be that they don't want thet creation of a secondary market for these potential "collectors items" on eBay. This brewery loves their rarities making money, but only if they themselves are the beneficiaries.

Or, it could be that this apparently iconoclastic, noisy, and attention-seeking brewery isn't as "Punk" as they claim. With their products being increasingly stocked in "mainstream" outlets, they may not want any potentially account-jeopardising rudeness to be seen by, shall we say, less avid consumers of the Craft Lifestyle. Maybe Craft Beer is now the big business it's advocates have always denied it being.

Still, makes you think, doesn't it.

Monday 15 February 2016

News In Brief #39

Soon to be in the 2017 Good Beer Guide

Shed Given ACV

Last week, South East Grizedale Borough Council declared a 6 x 8 Overlap Apex shed an Asset Of Community Value. The owner of the wooden construction, Greg Steakbake said "This is an amazing victory for those of us who want our heritage preserved."

"I myself," proclaimed Steakbake "have invested almost £500 in this building.  I've installed a second-hand woodworking bench to which I've screwed an Angram pump and connected up a cask of Black Sheep bitter. This is an important community hub. For me and my CAMRA committee mates to drink away from our wives and their ceaseless chatter, anyway"

We asked Greg what the criteria were for this being an asset to the wider community in his environs. "What? Those bastards? If they cared there's still be a pub in the village. They just sit at home watching Netflix and drinking Pinot. We never see them. The CAMRA committee is the only community left."

Local resident Samantha Locke-Dore told us "Pubs? How very 19th Century!"
"We're paid £5.90 an hour and don't care!"

Student Left In Charge for the Day

Dismally typical pub landlord, Barry Shortmeasure today left his pub in the sole control of his single member of staff, 19-year-old Gender Studies student Josh Muppetshow "It's half term, and the ex wants me to take our son to Alton Towers. It should be fine. I've left a job list for him." desperately self-reassured Shortmeasure.

"Man, cleaning?" whinged Josh "I, like, clean my flat once a month. Nothing needs cleaning in here. I'll just sit here and sample all the beer. Barry's got loads, man. He won't miss it."

By 6:30pm things had taken a turn for the worse. "There's nobody here but old codgers, man." he complained "And my mobile battery's run out and I left my charger at home and I'm, like, out of rollies. This is boring, man. There's nothing to do" as the empties piled up on the right of the bar.

"I'm gonna ask all my mates to come down, man. They won't buy any drinks as they spent all their cash on weed. But I'll just give them free drinks."

"If Barry, like, fires me, it doesn't matter. I start at Costa on Thursday"
"We love you and will wait FOREVER for beer!"

Crafties Organise Piss-Up in Brewery

In celebration of their 5th Birthday, North London Craft Brewery Random Brick announce a free entry party at their industrial estate based brewery in Edgeware.

"Yeah, I mean its a great thing" expostulated brewery owner Damien Fixedgear "Despite us only having room for twenty people and only having one toilet we thought, well, why the hell not. We owe our wonderful customers a great event to pay £4 a third for."

"Of course, the toilet failed after 45 minutes." commiserated Fixedgear "So I got an empty Keg, and told them to aim down the hole at the top. They loved it. Everyone said they really felt a part of the Craft Beer Revolution."

Luke Lumberjack-Shirt, a late-arriving punter among hundreds said "I knew I wasn't likely to get any beer, having got here 10 minutes after opening. But I just wanted to be part of this thing. Actually, I bought a can of Random Brick Quince Saison from some bloke who was flogging them out of a box."

"If nothing else," proclaimed Luke "the sheer amount of shivering, thirsty and disappointed customers stood in this car park just goes to show how awesome Craft Beer is."

Monday 8 February 2016


Average scene in average pub

People often ask me why I'm such a miserable bastard who feels the need to mock everything and everybody, regardless of whether their intentions are good or bad. Usually I give a facetious answer about being History's Greatest Monster or that the world is stupid and I don't need to do anything but type what I see in front of me. But there are other reasons.

Throughout my life, and with forty years to go on I think I have a reasonable sample, I've been an outsider looking in, never been able to truly connect with other people. I once had an ex-girlfriend who admitted to me feeling the same, and she burst into tears afterwards.  I suppose it depends on how much you want to be connected with other people, really. Life has taught me that trying is usually a bad idea.

How you feel about things if you have Asperger's Syndrome is difficult to explain. The very nature of the condition precludes you being able to due to a trait called alexithymia - basically, an inability to identify and describe emotions. The way I always try to describe is that "normal" people have emotions like a box of loose rubber bands, and can take the appropriate band for each situation. An alexithymic, however, has the same amount of rubber bands but in a ball, all knotted together. And you can't do a thing with them.

Having the same amount of emotions, but no way to discharge them can be difficult.  A common way to deal with it is substance use, and this is quite probably the reason why I'm often found on the relevant end of a glass, bottle or can. It can, unfortunately, let too many emotions out at once, as those poor sods who used to be my Facebook friends can attest to. Perversely, the advantage of alexithymia is that the emotions become inaccessible again once you sober up. So all you have to do is delete the posts/tweets or whatever and carry on as normal.

"But Matthew," you say "If you find people and emotions so difficult, then why are you in the pub so often?".  You'd think such things were contradictory, yes, but they aren't really. In a pub, you don't interact with others on a particularly deep level.  You talk about the beer, the crap that's happened in town during the last week or even, God help you, the News. It's not the place for intimate emotional discussions, and it's all the better for it.  I can talk to strangers about pretty much anything, because I don't have to connect with them and most importantly, am not expected to.

This is why I don't go out with work colleagues. With them, you've already gone through the initial introductions and pointless chat, and have to talk about somnething else. And with most of them not being as experienced at drinking in public as me, inappropriate things can happen.

I have to see these people five days a week. I don't want to see them getting pissed and lairy.  I don't want to hear them bitching about someone once that person is out of earshot. I certainly don't want to know who exactly is shagging who. This is why I drink in pubs I know they'd never be seen in or even find.

I'm a single man, but I don't go to pubs to pick up women.  If I was going for that, I wouldn't go to the places I do, populated as they are by men over 50.  I'm past all that now. When I tell people I'll likely be single for the rest of my life, other people tell me it's a scary thing to think. No, putting all your trust in another person, with all it's emotional and financial implications, knowing they could betray you at any minute because something "better" comes along. No, that's scary.

For me, the whole "beer appreciation" thing is just a side effect of being in the pub, not, so I'm led to believe, the other way around as it is for most beer Blogger types. I can tell good from bad, but would doubtless fail every sensory test going.  I take the piss out of the whole scene because it's easy. Beer Fandom provides more than enough material for even the moderately talented satirist. I'll never make a penny out of it, but if it gives people some cheap laughs, then that's good enough for me.

I will always be distant from the rest of humanity. The beer smooths the rough edges off dealing with it. The Asperger's is with me for life, but thankfully the consequences aren't.

Do others need people. I don't.