Thursday, 20 December 2007

Pub or Beer?

My fellow blogger Stonch has stirred up a hornet's nest in one of his recent posts where he posed the question What comes first for you - the beer, or the pub?. Some of the correspondents rightly point out that the pub is a uniquely British concept. (Some would say, me among them to a large extent, that it is quintessentially English. Scottish and Irish pubs are similar, but they are not the same.) Our transatlantic cousins do not have pubs in the same way and additionally, they are thinner on the ground for a variety of reasons, some historical, others more practical in that it is a big place. Everything tends to be further apart. Our pubs are usually stated as one of the most remembered things when surveys of foreign visitors are made. Away from these shores the pub is never quite the same. It can be copied, but rarely successfully.

All of my Yankee friends are beer men. It's how I met them. They are also pub people, but to a different extent due to reasons above. So to answer Stonch's question. I am a pub man. The pub comes first with me and on this blog. In the case Stonch describes, a sterile pub with great beer or a vibrant local with great atmosphere, well I guess the local - but I'd try the interesting beers in the other place first. After all, I am a beer man too.

Some have boiled the question down to "are you a lonely saddo or a gregarious hail fellow type?". Maybe people are viewing the question from a standpoint that will never elicit the "correct" answer for reasons of background, inclination or circumstance. Pub attendances are falling so the question has much validity. To me and this blog, the pub and drinking are synonymous. To others, evidently not.

One of the growth areas for cask ale is women, so maybe Stonch will find less TA types and more totty as time goes on. That'd be nice, though in my case somewhat academic and in the youthful and lusty Stonch, less so. Getting older has some compensations. Some of life's choices are already made, so I can concentrate more on the beer. Or pubs?

For Stonch - a couple of customers at this years GBBF. I suspect they are not in the TA!