Sunday, 8 November 2009
Even when I’m out shooting for the table the talk is of beer
Out rough shooting on Dartmoor yesterday with a bunch of guys and when the talk turns to beer it’s all about cask beer — I like Tribute says one chap, almost licking his lips, another has a Proper Job pump-clip on the grill of his 4x4, one fella, about to become a father, bemoans the fact he can’t get Otter Ale in his local near Oakhampton, while another says which Sharps beer he likes (interestingly enough, not Doom Bar, in fact I rarely come across people in the West Country who like it, it seems to be people from off; I like Cornish Coastliner and Eden Ale, as well as Stuart Howe’s experimental stuff). It’s a sign of the times, a few years ago you were like an alien species if you mentioned beer while out shooting, but now beer — cask most definitely, though some will nod sagely when you mention Budvar or even Herold Dark — has a real buzz about it and the people talking about it with me are not your archetypal CAMRA activists, these are dentists, farmers, businessmen, builders, gamekeepers, and even a pest controller (to emphasise this enthusiasm, there’s a line in one of the papers today about an officer who was killed in Afghanistan and how his love for Old Speckled Hen was met with bemusement by his Stella-loving squaddies — ok it’s OSH but it’s still beer). People are getting wise to beer, getting comfortable with talking about beer, which is what we want (as the beer advert of ancient times used to say). These are great times and I just might have a beer, a Crown Smoked Oktoberfest awaits.