Usually when I go into the Bricklayers Arms,the real ale pub in Putney in the afternoon, there is the retired postman, the well educated bar man, sometimes a Glasgow Ranger supporter and occasionally an American lady with her dog. Pure James Joyce. That is,incomprehensible.
This week was different. The pub was having one of its regular beer festivals. 78 beers from the noble . white rose county of Yorkshire were on offer and the place at 4pm was not heaving but pleasantly full. With a crowd which would have had the Guardian stamping its little foot. All white, all male. All over weight. Some with red beaming faces which could light up the blackest night. Few were under fifty but that was probably to do with the time of the day. Like the House of Commons without the neck ties.
I drank my Bridestones “Silver Fern”, 4.2 gravity and described as “subtly hopped amber ale.” Well I never. I had a brief chat with Geoff from Chiswick. He reckoned he would in the course of three hours sup ten halves of “different ales, it’s a great hobby when you are retired” he told me “beer is not just about getting a bit tipsy,even drunk, it’s a whole world of different tastes.”Unlike wine tasting,at beer festivals there is no posing and drinking later, its all in the here and now.
Maybe I should have tried Abbeydales” White Knight” 4.5, “pale bitter with an aroma and a hint of elderflower. Flavour of citrus and lingering bitter tones”. Actually, perhaps I’m glad I didn’t as it sounds the kind of beer that might be drunk at a gay wedding. Which made me wonder if any of these chaps get together after a few pints, what a lovely idea.
How did you meet.?Well it was at a beer festival actually. He was trying the Tongue Tangler 4.0 and I was having a go at the New Moon 4.3, and one thing led to another and we got talking. We found that we had so much more in common that just beer. We both liked pork scratchings.
Oh bliss. I would have the younger man played by Leonardo and the older man by one of the Fiennes boys. Maybe a black bar man.A shoe in for next year’s Oscars.