The debates that surround beer are pretty lightweight in the context of the world. Craft or kreft? A pint or a half of even a third? In the latest issue of the brilliant Beer, two chaps debate the pint versus the two/thirds — lads I couldn’t give a monkeys, my engine remains cold: I want a pint of Otter Head but would rather a glass of Duchesse de Bourgoyne, what’s the problem? In the Guardian a few weeks ago the saintly Ben McFarland told us it was time to ditch the pint glass. Why? Yes, good glasses look good but surely it’s up to the drinker if he wants a half or a pint of Anchor Porter or 6X? Let’s have a choice. On this occasion I suspect the hand of a commissioning editor looking for a fire in an abandoned tenement building that he can call the end of civilisation? Or maybe it’s the wine drinkers of beer drinkers’ demon lore that have taken fright? Or maybe it’s just the cultural cringe of this country? Or maybe it’s a quiet news day in the saintly kingdom of N1?
What is it about British (I ask myself if it is English but really think it’s anyone in the English-speaking isles off Europe) cultural mores that throw out this you’re-either-with-us-or-not argument that for me chucks a dead diseased camel down the wells of debate. Chill. But then beer is relatively uncontroversial and worth a few slaps around the rhetorical face: imagine the debate around more weightier subjects: capital punishment or not, gallows or guillotine, sharia or chocolate?