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Welcome to Doodlecat, where we enjoy the pleasures of life (with a slight bias towards the outdoors). This page is regularly updated with news and views plus information about any additions or changes to the various parts of the site. It acts as Doodlecat’s Blog too, so the odd rant considered opinion may pop up from time to time.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

How to drink beer.

In the last post about pork pies (my next project is a Melton Mowbray variant) I touched on the subject of beer. One aspect of english cuisine that has enjoyed a welcome revival over the last couple of decades is craft brewing, and even the big brewers are producing new and reviving old ales to tickle the palate.

In a recent newspaper article I saw an old tip for serving fine ales to accompany food. Serve them in a large wine glass. It sounds a bit odd, but it works really well, and allows your guests to sample a range of ales as an integral part of a meal, just as they would expect with fine wines. And the shape of the wine glass encourages the aromas from the beer to be appreciated.

Try it. It really does add to the experience. Plus your guests won't get overwhelmed with the volume. I first came across this in the seventies when invited to Sunday lunch with a chap from work. I was doing a night shift at the Goodmans loudspeaker factory in Havant at the time - one of many short lived jobs in my early career.

I was used to drinking Gales HSB in pint pots, and thought this chap serving his family peculiar brews in tiddly glasses was a) a bit eccentric and b) a bit miserly. How wrong can you be? A wealth of top beers from England, Belgium and Germany graced the table, and we finally finished with five year old Thomas Hardy's Ale from Eldridge Pope with the pudding and cheeses. With an ABV of almost 12% we are talking of something with the same strength as wine. Sadly, Eldridge Pope went bust a few years ago, and although there have been random efforts to recreate it, I'm not sure how successful they have been.

Down at the pub, of course, a pint glass is the thing - and a fine session ale in quantity makes for a great evening. But the next time you're having a supper with friends, instead of a bottle or two of  Kangarouge or Billablanc, why not try serving a range of interesting beers in your guests' wine glasses; and maybe, just maybe, see committed wine lovers seduced by the delights of good ale.




Blogger Mark Alvarez said...

Terrific idea, Phil. I can get some really good Belgian beers here in the States, and really good German ones, too. English? Not so much. Your really good ones seem not to travel all that well. Not that I turn up my nose at the continental stuff, but it's English I like the best, though there I admit I'm a session beer man. Ahh, any excuse to cross the pond again!

Now pardon me while I go decant a cocky little Pilsner.

Best wishes for the holidays and the new year.

December 5, 2009 at 9:33 PM  
Blogger John J said...

Excellent advice Phil, and good to see you're a follower of such good practice.

I'll just have open another bottle of 'Full Sail Amber' from Oregon - highly drinkable in small amounts.

JJ (STILL on safari in USA)

December 6, 2009 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Hello JJ. The weather is cold and the beer is warm here - I rather suspect the reverse is the case where you are. Enjoy ;-)

Mark - I like a cocky pilsner as much as the next man, but a quick Google turned up this online store. An in depth investigation may be required.

Merry Christmas to you & yours!

December 6, 2009 at 5:53 PM  
Anonymous davehollin said...

Its something that my previous 2 employers were keen to promote....drinking beers with different foods. Wine is considered the drink for food occasions but I think you can match a good ale or even a wheat or speciality beer with most meals

Trust me. I'm a brewer


December 17, 2009 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Interesting, Dave. Trouble is that many (most) brewers promote this concept rather half heartedly, as if they don't really believe in it themselves. As soon as they get a good bit of PR going, suddenly the marketing dept switches to something else and the whole thing loses momentum.

If beers appeared on restaurant wine lists - with the same sort of descriptions - that might get people experimenting more. Trouble is, there's more profit in a bottle of indifferent vino marked up 400% than a bottle of good beer.

So it's up to us!

Cheers and Merry Christmas!

December 20, 2009 at 4:51 PM  

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