Discernment: the next step

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I had the good fortune to be invited over the festive period to a party which was held at a very nice big house. I had never met our hosts before, but they were clearly not short of a bob or two. The house was well furnished, the food was excellent and the millennium champagne was flowing like water. Clearly people of discernment. You would say so, but read on.

Heading off to the kitchen for my favourite tipple, I am disappointed. Only nasty tins of Boddington and Tetley greet my eager gaze. No decent beer!

Why do so many people have a blind spot when it comes to beer? They care about quality in so many things they buy and do. They prefer to eat at good restaurants, shop at the best shops and buy recommended wines. But when they need some beer to set up a party or barbecue their discernment deserts them.

I think this is a question of learning. Our old bogeymen, the big brewers have nothing to gain by promoting high quality beers in bottles.  That means most people know nothing of the concept of quality when it comes to take-home beer. Faced with an array of bottles and cans on the supermarket shelf, they have no idea that some of it is very good, and most of it is very, very bad.

Here’s a quick lesson which should add immensely to your pleasure.

1: Tins are for beans, not beer. Never, ever, touch tinned beer.

It’s not real ale, it’s not nice, and the word “draught” used with such cavalier abandon by advertising executives is, in fact, a lie.

2: Bottled beer, even with a silly name, is not necessarily good.

You have to try just a little harder than that!

3: The magic words are “BOTTLE CONDITIONED”

That means the beer is maturing all the time, the yeast is alive, and the flavour is, like the people who drink it, sophisticated.

4: That’s it!

That’s how easy it is to see which ones are “REAL ALE IN A BOTTLE”

I guarantee you will enjoy good quality beers much more than the fizzy metallic stuff.

And where do you find it? Most supermarkets have a few Bottle Conditioned Beers. Tesco and Sainsbury have a few. Off-licences are worth investigating, and the newsletter will point you to the ones we know. An article on reviewed BCAs is on this website.

Some of the best are Holly Tree Farm near Knutsford, Booths in Knutsford, Barleycorn in Nantwich. Cheers!

 

 
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All rights reserved. Last Revised: April 25, 2004
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