Friday, August 10, 2012

Three Beers For Friday

I am still working my way through my volume of "1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die", which I see as a form of pilgrimage : the inebriates equivalent of a tour of religious shrines. My latest "station of the cross" was a delicious bottle of Samuel Adams Boston Lager which Tesco had kindly transported across the Atlantic for me. The tasting notes said something about a complex mix of "distinctly sweet malt and hop bitterness"; but I have never been particularly good at hunting out the supposed flavours to be found in a beer. All I can say is that when I had finished the bottle I wished I had bought two. You can't say more than that can you?

I spotted a book on brewery history on eBay the other day; one which was not already in my little library devoted to the history of breweries. I bid for and bought "An Uncommon Brewer - The Story of Whitbread 1742-1992" for a couple of pounds and I have enjoyed myself so far just flicking through and looking at the rich illustrations. This cartoon appears in the book and it illustrates the close relationship between agriculture (Sir John Barleycorn and Miss Hop) and brewing (and their only child, Master Porter). It has to be said that there are few finer ways of spending an evening than sipping a fine beer and flicking through an illustrated history of breweries.

But what is this, I hear you ask : buying even more books when you are supposed to be de-cluttering! Feeling guilty about my purchase, I reached into my cluttered back passage with the intention of consigning at least one book to Cousin Dave's car boot sale to compensate for my new purchase. Alas, the first volume I managed to drag out was a 1973 copy of Christopher Hutt's classic "The Death Of The English Pub". It would be sacrilege indeed to get rid of such a volume and therefore I have hidden it away in my room just in case Isobel decides to strictly impose the "one in, one out" rule.

In one of the chapters, Hutt speaks about the decline of the hand-pulled pint in the days of the modern electric beer pump. His book was written 40 years ago and I am glad to say that what might then have appeared to be a terminal decline in the old hand-pulled beer engine has been reversed. I cannot resist ending with one of the little quotes that appear at the beginning of each of the chapters in the book. This one graces the chapter on "The Quality Of Beer":

"Not turning taps, but pulling pumps,
Gives barmaids splendid busts and rumps"


  1. I want to see some beer mats in these posts.

  2. Beermats As Bookmarks! Excellent!

  3. Your wish, my command, and all that.

  4. Is it the physical exercise of pulling the pumps, or simply the action of alcohol on male brains that "Gives barmaids splendid busts and rumps?"

  5. So, it's down to hiding books, is it? I have this image of a closet and an avalanche of books upon its opening. They'll all be about beer. I think the title of this post should be the title of one of them, written by you, of course. Happy Researching!

  6. Alan, I love this beer journey you are taking! Think my husband would love to go along with a similar journey! He has a birthday coming up and I think you have given me an idea of a book for him!!!

    Now, as for a Samuel is one of my favorites!

  7. I'm not much of a beer drinker (cider is my choice) but my husband is quite fond of Sam Adams -- the beer, I mean.

  8. I'm glad you liked the Samuel Adams Boston Lager. I'm a big fan of just about everything in their repertoire, although I think the Winter Ale is my favorite.

  9. amazing how many books written about beer.

    here's a poem that could relate to beer, it's called

  10. That's it, I'm giving up my gym membership. It never did much for me anyway. Won't the local tavern staff be surprised when I show up every morning in my workout gear to pull the pump!

  11. Although I'm more of a White Zinfandel girl, myself, you beer journey is very delightful. :) And I love seeing the bottle labels...wonderful!



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