I’ve got a beer you won’t know about says Will, the barman from Barrow who runs my local pub like clockwork can only be run; he bends beneath the bar, on his knees to the chill cabinet, it’s Sunday so he’s allowed a little holiness — in an instance I know he’s not going to fool me. The shape of the bottle, just a glimpse, gives me an edge. From Alsace, I say, conscious of playing to the gallery at the bar at that point when Sunday lunchtime has gone past 2pm and we’re drinking not dining (no roasties today sadly, one of the great traditions of my Sunday local). Champagne yeast, Moussec-like character on the palate, light; Kasteel Kru. Damn says Will; but I’ve got it wrong on one point: it’s a bottle of Kasteel Rose, which I haven’t had and don’t particularly want to try (I don’t use the word abomination that often but it seems to me that it is well called for when thinking about beers like this and those tequila flavoured ones that seem to do so well in France obviously giving their consumers the cachet of a hero from some Spaghetti Westerm filmed in Spain — look mum I haven’t shaved for a few days and I’ve got your poncho on, I’m a loner!). Never mind that though, there’s an interest in beer, beyond a pint for sustenance (t’was Proper Job, HSD and Dartmoor Bitter on the pumps for those who care), there’s a thought that there’s more to beer than the usual pint, even if Kasteel Rose — to me — seems like a crappy, artificial flavoured flute of shite. Let’s put it this way, No way would I recommend it as a beer to drink before you shuffle off the moral coil. Then it’s back to the Proper Job in hand, but I like the way beer is considered of interest in a pub (Woods, Dulverton http://tinyurl.com/lm8uww) that has won lots of plaudits for its wine and food but is still not grand enough to turn its back on beer drinkers. Talking of which Will tells me that Paddy the landlord opened his last bottle of Brooklyn Chocolate Stout last night, a case of which I ordered for him last time. Time to hit that online place in Kings Lynn I think.
See Ulysses for the reference to Rose of Castile and yes that’s my local in the background.