Monday, 5 May 2008

Kegged off in Cleveleys

On Saturday after a long session running the bar in our pub, while the landlady was out sponsoring Rochdale FC along with most of the Saturday afternoon regulars, I drove to Cleveleys with E and her mother to attend E's aunt's 85th birthday celebrations. Now this was held in a social club and I just knew it'd be all keg and it was. A quick inspection of the pumps brightened me up a little. Warsteiner, while not my favourite German beer by any means, was on tap. That'd do. E had promised to drive home, I'd have a few of these. No I wouldn't. It was off! With sinking heart I surveyed the remaining choice. Mostly from Thwaites - it was deepest Lancashire after all - and none appealing. Keg mild, smooth bitter, Carling, Guinness and Thwaites brewed Kaltenberg Hell Extra Cold!!

I had a pint of Guinness. The beer was dull, cardboardy and had that strange kind of edge that only harsh pasteurisation can bring. I reflected grimly on the contrast between this parody of a stout and the wonderful, fresh tasting, flavoursome stouts I had enjoyed just a week before at the Porterhouse in London. Pasteurisation ruins beer almost as much as a wishy washy recipe and believe me Guinness nowadays is a wishy washy version of the beer I used to enjoy as a treat when I was a lad. Where has that bitter, heavy, chewy body gone? That hit of roasted malt? The lip smacking East Kent Goldings finish? Gone. I'm told it's so tasteless now, that the Irish call it "black lager". Very appropriate.

I did ask for a taste of the Kaltenberg. I didn't care for it at all either, so one more pint of Guinness was forced down. That was it. Two pints all night. Some people actually drink this stuff as a matter of choice. God help them!

A good session on Lees' Spring Cheer brought me back to decent beer yesterday!

12 comments:

The Beer Nut said...

**citation needed**
Where did you hear of it being called "black lager"?

If anything, I'm irritated that most Irish Guinness drinkers have no objection to how their pint has been dumbed down. The Brewhouse Series was viewed with particular suspicion because, OMG, someone was messing with the "classic" pint of Guinness.

For the bitter heavy chewy body, get it from the bottle.

Tandleman said...

I was at a wedding in Ennis in County Clare a few years ago. One of E's Irish cousins called it that. Maybe it was just Irish whimsy, but it fits.

Tandleman said...

I meant to add that it would have been nice if the Brewhouse series had included a full bodied roasty bitter version rather than even more dumbed down versions of an already dumbed down beer. Unless it did and I haven't heard?

Rednev said...

Smoothflow Guinness must be the most overrated beer in the country. Is it true that St Patrick's Day was invented by the Guinness marketing department?

The Southport Drinker said...

It's not as bad as Tetley dark mild keg!

The Beer Nut said...

The Brewhouse Series provided nothing of note whatsoever, other than a short-lived hope that Diageo Ireland might be interested in possibly making something a bit better than the usual at some point in the future. Trying to guess the difference between those three from the regular product was an art in and of itself.

I think the term "black lager" for Guinness is a gross insult to black lagers. It's a shame that the drinkers of Clare weren't thirsty enough for decent beer to keep the Biddy Early brewery on its feet.

Stonch said...

Keg ales are all but extinct in these parts - other than Tetley's and John Smith's in very low end pubs. It fascinates me to hear they live on in the supposed "beervana" of t'North! ;-)

Tyson said...

Ah, but it was a social club, not a pub. I'm sure that even down South they are as miserable as oop North.

For the record our beervana only extends to pubs:)

Tandleman said...

I am not so sure keg ales are all but extinct in the South. Unless of course you are excluding smoothflow. And Tyson is correct. Pity there wasn't a pub nearby, though sneaking off under the gaze of countless old biddies might have been tricky.

Ron Pattinson said...

30% flaked barley in the grist can't help the body.

I've seriously considered getting a beer brewed to the 1883 Extra Stout recipe: 1076 OG, 85% pale malt, 10% amber malt, 5% roast malt (NOT roast barley) and around 4 lbs of hops per barrel.

Stonch said...

I'm not excluding smoothflow! The only pub I've been too in London this year that serves any kind of old-fashioned keg bitter, be it smoothflow or not, is that Knights Templar on Chancery Lane - indeed I went there with Tandleman himself!

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Well Guinness is black(end) lager in the New World. cooking lager with a dash of black extract added.