Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Reflecting on 2018

It has been a very quiet year for the blog for many reasons. I have had the passing of my mother to contend with, been very busy with beery things here in Rochdale, Oldham and Bury and latterly in Manchester for Manchester Beer and Cider Festival. But I don't think it the main reason. I just couldn't be bothered. Little inspired me frankly.  Some things interested me, but overall, just all a bit flat. Like a London pint.

I suppose as I get older I feel pretty detached from much of the new beery scene. I was reminded of this in no uncertain terms when I read my good friend Matt's run down of his favourite beery moments from 2018:

Maybe that's it. I am just past it for any meaningful interaction with a younger and trendier beer scene that frankly seems pretty alien to me. I don't seek out these oddball beers, I don't usually like modern bars with their chick chick bass 'music', crazy prices and fizzy beers that rarely live up to hopes - plus a feeling - usually because I raise the average age by 20 years - that I don't really belong there.

Where I do belong though is still very much beer related. I'll be in the pub with my pals soon, drinking excellent cask beer. I'll be continuing my commitment to CAMRA, to real ale and to socialising in pubs with a mixed clientele. That's what I enjoy.That's why I brought the New Year in with gin and tonic rather than some fancy pants special beer.  They are rarely for me.

I know what I am happiest with and don't grudge others their liking for something different. By and large though I'll be sticking to beer by the pint. Cask conditioned, sparkled and in a proper pub. That will be (mostly) what I write about this year. Oh and lager. Don't forget lager. That too. I like lager. And people. Don't forget them.

On that note and being glad I've got it off my chest, Happy New Year to all.

 I think it was Steve Bell of the Guardian, whose penguin strip cartoon character allegedly pished on fish oil was told "Fish oil is an accompaniment to fun -not fun itself."  I think with modification the same can be said about beer.

Wonder if there's any Plum Pudding left at the Tavern? If not straight onto the Bohemia Regent. Practice what you preach. 

Oh and best beer of 2018? Rat Brewery White Rat. By a mile.


Curmudgeon said...

We all get there in the end...

Happy New Year to you :-)

Phil said...

I did a quick running tally of Curty's Beers! Of! The! Year!; it came out at

0 - know the beer
2 - know the name but never had it
3 - know the name of the brewery, never heard of the beer
5 - never heard of either of them
5 - not only had I never heard of either of them, but I genuinely couldn't tell which was the beer and which was the brewery

That said, I did a small crawl the other night - a half each in four local bars instead of settling down for two pints in one of them - and had two porters and two pale ales, none of which I'd had before; they were all good & two (from Ilkley and Cwrw Iâl) were excellent. All cask, too. So there is some interesting stuff out there, even if you steer away from the likes of Surly from Todd the Axeman (or vice versa).

On a serious note, look after yourself - losing your mother is a big event, few bigger, and it takes a bit of living through. This soon afterwards, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you were finding the savour had gone out of life in general, particularly the more noisy and excitable bits of life. A year after my mother died I remember looking back and thinking "I was a bit lost for a while back there - glad things are looking up now". The next year I looked back on the previous year and thought exactly the same thing - and the year after that.

Paul Bailey said...

Some years get you like that TM, and as Phil says above, losing your mother is a major event, and it's easy to lose your mojo, so to speak.

It's coming up for four years since my mother passed away, and the immediate aftermath of finding carers for dad, and then having to move him into a care home, whilst a distraction, didn't make things any easier.

Time is a great healer, as is immersing yourself in something you are passionate about. I know what you mean about the modern scene, which young Matt enthuses about, and I too don't go along withe the novelty factor and the constant striving for something new - I saw far too much of that on last August's visit to the United States!

Fortunately, the local beer scene in this part of Kent manages to accommodate both the old and the new, but one thing I agree with you about, more than ever, is the importance of decent lager.

That's enough of my ramblings. Happy New Year to you.

Sheffield Hatter said...

I scored even lower than Phil on the "recognise the beer/brewer" quiz. In fact, I had a moment when I suspected that most of it had been made up by Matt for our delectation. Then I Googled "pastry stout" and it turns out that it's "a catch-all for sweet beers...usually attributed to sardonic beer blogger Don't Drink Beer".

It's good to start a new year knowing demonstrably more than I knew in the old one.

alecandsophie said...

I already feel too old to belong in some craft bars at forty one.

Thurston McCrew said...

Beer blogger has nothing to say.
But says it anyway.


Jay Krause said...

Happy New Year!

I'm thinking that in 2019 I'm going to revisit some of the breweries and beers which got me genuinely excited about beer 9-10 years ago (not counting the Holds, Hydes and Lees beers which I've been drinking since my teens and which are still excellent), with your comment about the Rat being one of them. I think it might be time for some reflection for the whole crazy micro/craft scene, whales are only fun to chase for so long and I think I'm done chasing.

John Clarke said...

Happy New Year!

Yes, you've had a bit of a rough old year Peter - I know when my old mum died (quite a few years ago now) it knocked the stuffing out of me for a while so I completely sympathise.

Most of my beery 'advertures' these days tend to take place in Belgium or the Netherlands these days, and I must admit to still getting a buzz out of that. Back home though I tend to let new stuff come to me - if I'm there and it's on, I may try it - or I may not - at Stoke Beer Festival last November I could have happily spent all afternoon drinking Holden's Bitter.

Hope you don;t totally lose your beery mojo though.

Tandleman said...

Thanks everyone. And John. No chance of that. Still love drinking the stuff.

Ben Viveur said...

I've been feeling a bit that way too. That @totalcurtis list is a bit of a twilight zone for me, but then the beers and breweries that I've been drinking and raving about in 2018 probably seem just as alien to the mainstream.

Ultimately we all have our own beer bubbles; a 'scene' where we feel comfy even if we don't think of it as a scene. I don't envisage much convergence any time soon, so let the trendies do their thing.

The Maltese Penguin said...

Over time, I've enjoyed your blogs: I think that you write straightforwardly but informatively and engagingly. And I find the blogroll to the side a good jumping off point as well. So thank you. I hope that you find peace, and enjoyment, and inspiration, through 2019 and beyond.

Ed said...

I've felt the same for a while now. I mean I devote far too much time to beer geekery so I'm still slightly surprised when I read lists of beers and breweries I've never even heard of. But I guess I move in different beer circles.

Andy Holmes said...

Sorry for your loss Peter.

As someone who tends to frequent a "craft" bar these days, it's been interesting to make some comparisons. The bar in question also tends to stock traditional European beers, especially in bottles but occasionally an interesting Belgian beer, Koelsch, etc. will appear on tap.

This means that it's possible to drink Wild Beer back to back with Boon, for example. The craft copy rarely impresses on these occasions.

And don't even talk to me about peanut butter stout!