I’m just in from the pub.
No, don’t worry, I was the very model of temperance, it was a catch up with a few friends, and to drink I have to be in the mood to drink. Of the three big evil vices which threaten our very civilisation – smoking, meaty fatty foods and booze, I could give up the booze the easiest. I won’t though. My alcoholic libation was limited to a nice glass of merlot this evening.
Well, almost. There’s a brewer down this way called Shepherd-Neame. Britain’s oldest brewery. You’ve probably seen the very imaginative and not a little controversial advertising campaign promoting their Spitfire ale, their bottle conditioned beer is a staple of supermarkets nationwide.
They’ve just got the licence to start brewing Samuel Adams beer in the UK and this has now made its way to the pumps. Now, I’m not a big beer fan, I’m a Kentish lad and as a result my heart belongs to proper cider, Kent makes the best in the country and is second only in the world (in my opinion) to the Bretons, although the Breton stuff can be a little wine-like for some tastes. Don’t believe the Hereford, Somerset and Cornish hype, when it comes to English cider, Kentish is the business.
I digress. Despite not being a big beer fan I did remember quite liking Sam Adams when I visited Boston and took a sneaky little taster, very good it is too. But when tasting the beer I was told something by the barman that left me quite astonished. I had to ask him to repeat it, as I was certain that I’d misheard him.
What did he tell me?
He told me that they were prohibited from serving it in pints. At first (re)hearing my mind went back to a pub of my youth in a beautiful little Kentish village called Biddenden. The village brews a superb cider (and makes a very nice wine as well), imaginatively named ‘Biddenden Cider’. This stuff is nectar, but it is rather potent, and this pub wouldn’t serve it in more than a half pint unless your face was known. But surely this beer, this American beer, couldn’t be as potent as the Kentish cider that gets you drunk from the feet up (don’t have a session on the Biddenden when sitting down, your head will be as clear as a bell, but your feet will not respond to any instruction you give them)?
No it isn’t as potent, and that isn’t the thinking. There has, I’m told, been a bit of legislation passed to prevent us looking like extras from Hogarth’s Gin Lane (and yes, I believe that Beer Street is more apposite). This in effect means that any new beer product launched onto the market will be limited to servings of a maximum of 2/3 of a pint.
I knew nothing of this, and was quite taken aback. Does anyone out there in blogland have any more information? It seems to me to be one of the most stupid items of legislation to have ever sprung forth from the prolapsed rectum that is Westminster. I’m also betting that the next step will be that any existing line that has even the merest alteration to its recipe will qualify as a ‘new product’.
First they came for the smokers. . .