Saturday, 3 March 2018

White Out

I'm currently in Dumbarton looking after my ailing Mum to give my sister a break and to spend a little time with my Mum while I still can.  It has snowed here rather a lot. In fact as much snow as I can recall in this old town, but then again, I haven't spent that much time in it recently.

Of course, man does not live  by copious cups of tea alone - well this one doesn't - and Thursday, which was pretty bad saw my Dumbarton family gave me a couple of hours off. Despite intermittent heavy snow and bright sunshine, I fancied a pint. My sister and niece had already advised that they observed, as they walked to Mum's, that all the pubs apart from the local Wetherspoons were shut. This though was fine by me as I wasn't after mass produced lager. The pavements were more or less out of bounds for two reasons. Firstly around they were coated by two feet of snow and secondly, my rather inappropriate footwear. I had anticipated the cold and had a heavy coat, but not the snow. "It never snows much in Dumbarton" was my faulty assessment as I left Middleton. So along with other brave souls, I trudged along the main road. Not a great problem as apart from a few four wheel drive cars, there was no traffic.

It didn't take me more than 15 minutes to get into town. Indeed the first two pubs - the biggest apart from JDW - were firmly shuttered.  All businesses and shops seemed to be too.  Now there are a couple more smaller pubs along the High St, but I wasn't checking them out. The Captain James Lang was open and fairly busy.  Wetherspoon has its critics, but it was open when other weren't and was doing good business in tea, coffee, meals and the odd pint too. My pints of Loch Lomond Southern Summit got a solid 3 as I assessed them for WhatPub and CAMRA's National Beer Scoring System.  As I sat I observed. My fellow Dumbartonians seemed well attired in the footwear department. I gazed enviously at the various walking shoes, boots and wellies.  My shoes were matted with snow and looked wet, but hadn't let any moisture in - Clarks doncha know, so I wasn't complaining, but was well aware that I looked dressed for rather better weather.

After a couple of pints of Southern Summit, I noticed the pub had newly installed BrewDog's Punk IPA, so I had a half. Underneath the carbonic acid ridden presentation is a rather decent beer trying to get out. It was hugely over gassed and very cold, but as it warmed up and revealed its layers of flavour, I reflected that despite all that is said about "craft" beer, in a lot of cases it still suffers from exactly the same problems that has always plagued it. That is excess CO2 and very low temperature. For sipping beer this might be fine, but for swigging beer, for this observer at least, it just doesn't cut it. Better gas control is a must - see this from Will Hawkes. He is spot on.

Anyway one thing I do notice in the Captain James Lang is that there is a slow and creeping uptake on cask. In fairness, the West of Scotland is a hard nut to crack, but I get the impression that they are doing their best here. Not enough to not try and get away with duff pints now and again, but better. I keep saying the last per
son who should discover a bad pint is the customer.

Beer quality should be continually checked. If it isn't, they simply aren't doing it right.

Hoping to escape to Glasgow later on. The CJL has lost its charms. I need pastures new. No trains but there are buses and I haven't been on a bus from Dumbarton to Glasgow for over 50 years.  Regretfully, not free despite my advancing years.

A footnote about Southern Summit and Joker IPA, which I have had some of on cask recently. Atren't they a bit sweet?


Barm said...

We also found ourselves taking refuge in Spoons when the snow started on Wednesday when almost everywhere else (justifiably) shut down, and I have to say the beer was in fine nick.

Are Southern Summit and Joker IPA sweet, or is the beer in Lancashire typically very dry? It’s a matter of perspective.

Paul Bailey said...

My father always swore by Clarkes shoes, and I've followed in his footsteps - if you'll pardon the pun!

However, given the weather we've had recently in Kent, and the fact I work in a rural location, I've left my ability to get a grip in the snow and ice, to my trusty old Trespass hiking boots.

Alan said...

Sorry to hear about your mum. That is a tough time of life. I lost both my Dad from Greenock and my own mum of Largs about five years ago now. Not really commenting other than to say sorry.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

I used to be a Merrills man.Swore by them for years.Fitted like a glove.
Yet the last two pairs have been unsatisfying.
Simple little things like shorter laces,a smaller tongue and a poor finish all bear the dead hand of some corporate accountant trying to cut corners even on a shoe produced in a Bangladesh sweat shop.
I shall look to pastures new with the next pair.
Sorry to hear about your old mum.Mine finally pegged it last year at the ripe old age of 95.
They were made of stern stuff in those days.

Mick said...

Enjoy your Blog. Sorry to hear about your Mum. Hope it works out.

Cooking Lager said...

best wishes for your mum, fella.

but there's not enough in beer bloggery on the shoe choices of beer enthusiasts. There needs to be more on a whole range of sartorial choices.