With our train due in an hour,we wandered out of the station in a small inland Cornish town in search of a pub. The first we came across was busy and smart enough; on entering, a cheery-looking landlady greeted us and engaged in a little light banter. She then served us two pints and a half of the warmest, dullest bitter we’ve had in a while.
This seemed a perfect time for a little experiment. “Is that Young’s Light Ale in the fridge?” we asked, spotting the label from several metres away. It was, so we bought some, and used it to (a) reduce the temperature of our pints from lukewarm to cool; (b) put some fizz in them; and (c) lift the bitterness. They weren’t great pints thereafter, but were at least pleasant enough to finish.
All of this reminded us of (sorry) yet another passage from Richard Boston’s Beer and Skittles (1976) in which he lists various ‘traditional’ beer mixes:
- Lightplater — bitter and light ale.
- Mother-in-law — old and bitter. (Oh dear. Bernard Manning much?)
- Granny — old and mild.
- Boilermaker — brown and mild.
- Blacksmith –stout and barley wine.
- Half-and-half — bitter and stout, or bitter and mild.
If you’re compelled to mix beers in an emergency as we were, or just fancy a change, these all sound like they might create something drinkable.
Bailey’s dad, of course, never complains about bad beer. If it can’t be rendered passable with the addition of a bottle of Mann’s Brown Ale, then it’s time to move on.