My father always favoured bitter and told me from an early age that lager was a drink for what he described as ‘pansies’. I won’t get into a discussion about what he meant about lager drinkers (!), but I thought he was right about beer and so I followed his lead. Back then though, at a fairly tender age, I had no understanding of what real ale was nor any clue about the huge variety and different styles that are available, of which bitter is just one.
As I grew older and travelled round the UK in pursuit of one of my other passions, the folk/rock/something-or-other band New Model Army, I got to try out more and more different ales. Then came a proud day. I went for a drink with my father to a pub I knew but he didn’t and he said to me: “What do we drink in here then?” The world turned upside down, in a good way, as daughter informed dad what the choice of ales was and which one she thought he would prefer.
Sadly, because of my sometimes shoddy memory I can’t tell you what beer we had or where that episode took place. Were I to hazard a guess though I’d say it was somewhere in Cambridge and that we probably had Greene King IPA, the ale I first turned to after I discovered that the Student Union bar only sold tasteless, smoothflow beer.
These are the roots of my love of real ale. Today I know a fair bit more about beer than I did as a student and I am currently lucky enough to live in a part of the UK (Devon) that is home to a wealth of breweries and some fantastic ales. But I’d like to learn more about ale than I know now. This blog will be part of me doing that.
I hope you’ll join me on my ‘mission’ and share your ale tales and beer experiences as we go along.