Tuesday, 8 July 2008

I blame the young

Change. When you get to my age, most change becomes scary. Or terrifying. New stuff keeps appearing. Things like mobile phones and Double IPA. Stuff you never asked for, but arrived on your doorstep anyway.

Every generation rejects the taste of its parents. In music, clothes, wallpaper, politics, food and, of course, beer and pubs. Everything has its fashion and every fashion has its day. Who of my generation could ever have imagined the early 70's becoming hip again?

The young, for the most, adore the thrill of the new. It's not really their fault. They don't know any better. That's why I bear with the younger members of the blogging community when they bang on about stylish bars and shiny-new, US-style beers. Or slag off dull, old-men's pubs without music or young lovelies. Give them another 20 years and they'll be wondering why youngsters call their favourite pubs boring, their favourite drinks old-fashioned and their beer festivals unappealing.

Reading a 1972 Daily Mirror article on beer got me thinking about much of this. I remembered the feel, smell and taste of drinking in the 70's. Would I want to go back to it? Probably not. Admitttedly, pubs, in general, were far more pleasant. Apart from the smoking, obviously. The beer, overall, was better, too. As long as you liked ordinary Bitter and Mild. And didn't mind if you could only find two sorts of each in your hometown. You'd also have to forget about ever drinking anything as exotic as a Belgian beer. Apart from Stella.

I do miss simple, ordinary pubs. Places with a Public Bar and a Lounge, metered electric pumps and outdoor bogs. But they aren't coming back. They've disappeared along with socialism, tin baths and fish and chips wrapped in newspaper. What have we got instead? The internet and more breweries than at any time since WW II. Swings and roundabouts. I've heard some of the young 'uns also like those.


Boak said...

The Public Bar / Lounge hasn't exactly died out - plenty of places still have the structure, and I've been to a couple of pubs recently where there was definitely a different crowd in each part, for example a loud, crowded bit downstairs fully of pretty young things, and a quiet sit-down area upstairs. Not a bad idea, really, with the advantage that these days you can choose where you belong.

Boak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Beer Nut said...

The Public Bar / Lounge thing is very much still alive here. It's handy for keeping the mouldy old soaks and their racing-from-Chepstow-at-ear-splitting-volumes out of the way.

Unknown said...

We never got that sort of split. I am told that back in the day, if you wanted to drink in a nice place you went to a restaurant's cocktail lounge, and if you wanted to drink in a workingman's bar you looked for the appropriate signage supplied by now defunct regional breweries like Olympia or Falstaff.

Ron Pattinson said...

Mmm. You can probably guess which bar I drank in. Not one with a carpet, I can tell you.

They still had the split in Australia, too.

I think it's nice for the age-challenged to have their own little ghetto. I worry about you young people. When I were a lad, I used to hang around in grotty old pubs, full of grotty old blokes.

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with grotty old blokes, as long as they don't do that scene from Star Wars:


"He doesn't like you..."

"I'm sorry."

"I don't like you either!"

Anonymous said...

Just read that 1972 Daily Mail article in detail. Pretty nice period piece.
Evaluating beer quality in terms of OG, i.e. how much solids you get from your drink, and how nourishing it is, could mean beer was still considered as food in the UK at the time ?

I'm also astonished at some of teh figures, especially the apparent very low attenuation of Spingo.

Ron Pattinson said...

Bailey, that's very much like a scene from one of Lexie's Star Wars films. Except his don't have quite as much dialogue.

Laurent, great article, isn't it. A shame I don't have the second article on bottled beer.

You have to remember that at the time it was almost impossible to find out how strong any beer was. I think the idea of focusing on OG and ABV is to work out which beers are the best value.

That Stingo attenuation is pretty poor. Though FG's do vary much more than OG's in the records I've seen. It could also be that the particular cask the sample came from was tapped before secondary conditioning had completed.

qq said...

Just in case anyone comes across this article, there's a poor-but-just-about-readable reproduction of the bottled beer article of 11 July 1972 in this Boak & Bailey piece for the Mirror that's plugging Brew Britannia in return for making the Mirror feel good about the times when they did real journalism as opposed to the stuff that Piers Morgan did.