When we are asked by the venue management of the home of the National Winter Ales Festival what sort of food we want for the event, my mate Graham, the Organiser, always chirrups " beer blotters" - "something to soak up the ale"; or as I alternatively say and add, "something to put you on, not fill you up."
On Saturday, at the landlady's pub, which offers excellent grub, a punter said to her after perusing the menu, "I'd just like a plain simple roast beef sandwich - no salad, no garnish, no chips". This was produced, the landlady being an obliging sort. It set me thinking that the good old fashioned bar snack - the something to put you on - is pretty much an endangered species. If I'm in a pub, I often fancy a simple filled roll, or the like, but rarely is such a beast available. If the beer is good, or just if I'm peckish, I want something that will stop me getting pissed, but not stop me dead in my tracks and prevent a few more pints. Isn't that something that the pub ought to want too?
In the West Midlands and some parts of the country, this tradition is safe. Filled rolls are common in the Black Country and in the West Midlands, the hot roast pork sandwich is widely available, reasonably priced and welcome. In Sheffield at the CAMRA AGM, the adjacent Thornbridge badged pub had an excellent roast pork bap (with a few chunky chips) for just under four quid. Perfect. Are a lot of pubs missing a trick here in not providing reasonably priced snacks as well as full meals? I'd say so, but what do others think?
The photo was taken two years ago in the Black Country and the cob is the size of a baby's head! That's a pint next to it.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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