Picture the scene. I have driven back from Leeds and while shopping in Rochdale decide a pee is needed. I am passing Wetherspoon's giant Regal Moon, so I pop in. The necessary done, I think I might as well inspect the pumpclips. I see a couple of beers I fancy trying, so I wait at the bar while the two harassed staff in a fairly busy pub serve meals and make coffees. A few other anxious would be drinkers also wait in vain. The one nearest me is clearly agitated. He has left his three mates who are, shall we say, of a type often found in JDW. He clutches his empty John Smith's glass and glowers, banging a rolled up copy of the Daily Mirror on the bar for dramatic effect.
I am in luck and am served next, so I sip my beer quietly having lost interest in it all. The agitated guy though is still not served. A moment or so later, the manager emerges from the back, carefully avoiding looking at the customers. Agitated man shouts at top of voice "Oi you, you lazy c*nt! People want serving here". Everyone looks up now. This is getting interesting.
They obviously know each other and the manager warily approaches to be told that he shouldn't be "fucking farting around in the back while his fucking useless staff serve fucking coffees and meals. There are people in here who just want a fucking drink if they could get one". Much more shouting of a similar vein follows. He reminds me of Derek "Red Robbo" Robinson addressing a massed gathering of British Leyland Workers, though he'd probably have brandished the Morning Star. The manager waits until the tirade subsides somewhat and then asks Agitated Man "Do you want a drink now or not?" His shouted response and more invective brings a rejoinder of "well you're not getting one here now! When he is asked to leave he rants that he is being barred because they don't know how to run a pub. It's a point that quite probably, if differently expressed, would gain him a lot of support from those still unserved around him. His John Smith drinking chums though carry on supping and offer no solidarity whatever.
My two halves are excellent and contrasting. Lorimers Cask Lager from Caledonian is, unlike most of their beers, neither thin, nor overflowing with diacetyl. It is full bodied, with juicy malt and a nice hoppy edge from what I understand to be a mix of Strisselspalt*, Hallertau and Hersbrucker hops. It is very moreish indeed, even with the addition of wheat malt, not a traditional lager ingredient as far as I know. I can't have any more though - I'm driving. My second half, Phoenix Thirsty Moon is contrastingly bitter, with an American hop finish. As I am finishing my beer, Agitated Man and JDW Manager are outside discussing his case. A handshake is exchanged and a finger is wagged. It seems an apology has been offered and accepted. The noisy complainer comes back in, orders a pint of John Smith's and rejoins his chums. Peace reigns once more.
Agitated Man has made a few good points, but not in a way I'd necessarily recommend!
* A French aroma hop from Alsace
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