Wednesday 16 September 2009
I’ll meet you at the sign of the Red Barrel (not)
You see this hanging from a wall in the Wallonian town of Tournai and you look around to see if the Tardis is lurking about. Never drunk the stuff myself (was on lemonade and Robinson’s Crush in its heyday) but the legends linger — was it really as bad as everyone says? Was it the spam (the meat not the offers of millions of quid from some dodgy individual) of beer? How we laughed about it in school, though didn’t know why and when it was time to step up to the plate of heroic drinking Red Barrel had vanished in a puff of smoke, like a baddie in a fairy tale. Which makes it all the more intriguing to see this sign in this beautiful town in the centre of saison county (discovered a new favourite, Tournay Noire from Cazeau, who also produce an elderflower-infused saison — at a speciality beer bar populated by Goths and metallers…).
Is Watney’s Red Barrel still available and if so could it spark off the same retro-beer movement that over in the US has drinkers, the sort you would normally expect to linger over their craft beers, ordering the corn-fed Pabst Blue Ribbon as a sort of act of rebellion or defiance against the accepted order of things?