One Tuesday about three weeks ago, I was in the the local. Shocking, I know. Tuesday's not my usual day, but I was on holiday and lacked both the energy and imagination to do anything else. I was sat there with two other regulars enjoying my usual pint of filthy keg, when in walked this bloke with a huge bag of bottles.
I forget his name, but he was the Rep from Freedom Brewery, and he was doing the rounds of what was considered likely takers for his beer. The bottles, of course, were free samples. He laid them out on the bar and asked the landlord for a bottle opener. Glasses were produced and we all got to try them. There was a lager (Freedom Four), an IPA (East India Pale), a Kolsch-style beer (King Koln) and an unnamed "experimental" pale ale.
I'd had the Freedom Four before, when it was the house lager of a craft bar I go to. As I recall, the bar staff got fed up with being asked by punters "What's the price of Freedom?" and had the pub company replace it with Amstel (craaaaaaft). I'm not a lager connoisseur, but the other two regulars are inveterate fizz fans, and they lapped it up. Then we had the India Pale, in my opinion a solid, well made 7/10 beer. The landlord tried it, looked at the price quoted for an 18 and told the rep outright "I can get better stuff than this from Blackjack cheaper."
We swiftly moved on to the "experimental" pale. The landlord again gave his honest opinion "Pale ale? This tastes just like the lager, mate. It needs more hops than this." I of course had to add my opinion "I presume that the since Freedom mostly brew lager, everything they do is going to be like lager even if it's meant to be something else." The landlord and I concurred on the main point - Freedom is priced too highly for beer that doesn't really stand out as exemplars of their stated styles.
We didn't even open the Kolsch.
The rep packed up his stuff , said his goodbyes and left. He was probably found crying in the car park a few minutes later. I hope we weren't seen to be that hard on his beer. There was nothing wrong with it, it was just a bit dull. I also hope he managed to flog some to other pubs with a less tough crowd in them.
Anyone for King Koln? The bottle's still behind the bar.