Beer With Me For A Moment

, , , , , , | Working | November 15, 2018

(In early 1994, I am invited over to the States from the UK by an American music software house, as a demonstrator for their flagship software program at a major trade show in California. Whilst at the show, one of their lead sales managers, knowing of my liking for beer, invites me out along with several other folks from the company for an evening at a local bar. This bar is apparently known for having something like 114 different beers from around the world. Anxious to introduce my friends to the peculiar delights of British beer, I peruse the section dedicated to my home country, at which point the alarm bells go off. There are three beers on offer: a low-alcohol brew borne out of the privations of World War II which hasn’t been brewed for UK consumption since 1976, though still brewed for export at that time, a favourite of Clint Eastwood, but only ever available in bottles, never on tap, and a strong cask ale known for its knee-trembler abilities when consumed to excess. I therefore order a jug of the final nectar for our drinking pleasure, which is duly delivered… at which point I feel the need to complain to the barman.)

Me: *after taking a sip* “This isn’t [Brand]!”

Barman: “Yes, it is, sir.”

Me: *deploying my best upper-class English accent* “Au contraire, dear boy! For your information, I was born 100 yards from their brewery in Chiswick, London. I was raised drinking this, my local brew, and can categorically assure you that this is not [Brand]!”

Barman: “What makes you think that?”

Me: “Well, for a start, you’re obviously serving it from a gas-pumped barrel; [Brand] is only ever served from a tap-and-vent barrel, hand-pumped via a long swan neck. Secondly, the colour is entirely wrong, and thirdly — and most importantly — it tastes nothing like [Brand]. I have no idea what you call it here, but in my country we have a little something called the Trades Descriptions Act, which makes it illegal to pass off a product as something else.”

Barman: “…”

Me: “Get me your manager.”

(The manager ended up giving us free drinks for the rest of the night which, despite this hiccup, proved highly entertaining for all concerned, and a prime example of American hospitality. I note with considerable pleasure that in the intervening years, America has embraced the production of craft ale/real ale and is now making some seriously excellent beers.)

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