What counts as being “in touch” on the beer scene these days? What (or who) do we want to keep in touch with?
I had a pint of Timothy Taylor’s Golden Best this evening (because I was after a Mild Magic sticker), followed by an Oakham JHB (because it’s a lovely pale hoppy bitter) and a Landlord (because it’s Landlord). Then I accidentally rested my glass on the edge of the table and spilled half of my Landlord, and finished the night with a half of very drinkable stout from Salamander instead, but that’s not part of this story. (Weirdly, the glass rotated through a full 360 degrees on the way from table to floor, landing on its foot but with very little beer within.)
Before ordering the Landlord, anyway, I asked the barmaid what else they had on, and got into a chat about guest ales. “We’re trying to put more guests on, because we find people really respond to them. Like Hobgoblin – we had that on as a guest, but we have it on a lot now, because people really responded to it.”
PUNTER AT BAR: “Hobgoblin! I’ve even got the t-shirt!”
BARMAID: “Yes, people really seem to like Hobgoblin…”
PUNTER: “I’ve got the t-shirt – it says ‘What’s the matter, lager-boy, afraid you might taste something?'” [Laughs]
BARMAID: [Roars with laughter; has genuinely never heard that one before]
This made me feel a bit odd. But what are the plus points of this situation? Well-kept Landlord and Golden Best, very nice beers from small & innovative breweries like Oakham and Salamander, staff enthusiastic about good beer, punters buying ale.
And what are the minus points? Well, there aren’t any minus points really. Are there?