Dear Thinking Drinkers
Wednesday 07 March 2018
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Dear Thinking Drinkers,
I want to buy my Brexiteer husband a crate of craft beer for Christmas. He works in Brussels quite a lot and has developed quite a taste for Belgian style beers but, having been extensively photographed clutching a pint of British bitter during the “Leave” campaign, he can’t be seen drinking any of that ‘foreign muck’. Can you recommend some British versions of European beer styles that he so hypocritically hankers after?
Kind Regards, Mrs Farage (estranged).
Dear Mrs Farage,
Your husband is clearly seeking solace in the sepia-tinted, halcyon days of yesteryear when Britain ran the show, when our breweries were the envy of the world and when we proudly exported our proven depressants, available in a wide range of flavours, to countries all over the world- many of which we had impolitely invaded.
Alas, those are rose-tinted pint glasses through which he peers. Britain is not the global powerhouse it once was and its breweries are no longer regarded as the world’s finest. The tide has turned. The tail is now wagging the dog and, as it lives in Europe, that dog probably has rabies.
Where once we slaked our national thirst with home-grown ber styles such as bitter, mild, India Pale Ale, Porter and, lest we forget, erstatz Euo cooking lager, in recent years we have seen our British borders infiltrated with foreign beers with flavour, umlauts, grave accents and the like. It’s just not cricket.
In their hundreds and thousands they swarm. From Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and other third world countries, gathering in our ports, often huddled in groups of 24, rattling around under cellophane in the back of British lorries with dreams of undermining our barley-based agricultural economy and getting their greedy foreign mitts on the United Kingdom’s ‘leisure pound’.
But if Jean Claude Juncker and all the other European overlords are reading this in Brussels, over a breakfast of chocolate sprinkles and hard cheese (as that’s what they do over there) then we’ve got news for them.
We don’t need your beer. Britain has got its own versions of ‘your’ beer and it may even be better. Probably. Without the thorny issue of terroir to complicate matters, British brewers are broadening their beer horizons beyond just British beer styles and embracing all manner of them European beers.
Down in Sussex, Burning Sky is cultivating its own Flanders Red and, using its own coolship, creating its very own lambic and gueze; Camden Brewing has hailed the Helles in style; The West Brewery in Scotland does a delicious “Dunkel”; Leipzig should know that Magic Rock is giving Gose a very good go in Huddersfield with its “Salty Kiss”; fans of Belgian Abbey beers should take a look at Adnams’ Triple Knot Tripel and Brew by Numbers has a selection of Saisons that are perfect for drinking after a long hard day working in the fields doing jobs that the British are too lazy to do.
So, there you go. Imbibing in this new era of isolationism is easier than you may think. Failing that, you could always get your husband a couple of cans of Spitfire – named after the eponymous aeroplane that once helped with the D-Day landings by strapping casks of British ale to its wings and ensuring British soldiers were not subjected to Normandy cider or, as your husband would say, “foreign muck”.
Hope that helps.
The Thinking Drinkers
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