In our most recent email newsletter (sign up here) we challenged people to produce a 100-word bit of writing about beer or pubs under the banner #BeeryShortreads, as the antidote to #BeeryLongreads which is now only a few weeks away.
Here are all the entries we received, with the winner of a paper copy of Gambrinus Waltz and a set of badges named at the bottom.
Studying for the Beer Sommelier exam turns beer into homework. You drink the style you need to study rather than the one you feel like drinking. You taste four beers side by side in the middle of the day because that’s the only time you have free. But it’s the middle of the day, so you taste just enough and pour the rest away. It can be lonely, sat there obsessing over tiny variations in flavour. Drinking in a way most people wouldn’t consider. Nerding out over off flavours and food pairings. I love it though. This feels like me.
Remember when you could get a pint for less than three quid? Remember when pubs used to smell interesting? Remember when you could order a drink without being stuck behind people waiting for Gin cocktails? Remember when everywhere shut at 11pm? Remember when pubs closed in the afternoons? Remember when this place was heaving every lunchtime? Remember when I could drink six pints without needing a piss? Remember when she used to be in here with me every night? Remember when the police were called? Remember when this place got shut down?
Just me then?
I’ll have a lucky dip for tonight too….and some green Rizla.
‘Do you realise it’s really sour?’ asks the barman at ‘t Brugs Beertje. It is 2011. I’ve ordered my first ever sour beer – 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze. I have been in Bruges for a whole day and now I am ready. I have read about champagne flavours, tartness, beer-that-isn’t- like-beer. ‘Oh yes’ I say, confidently. I take a sip. My tongue shrinks, I worry my teeth might dissolve. It takes me an hour to finish it and I feel a little traumatised. Yet days, weeks later, I think about it. One stiflingly hot summer’s day I realise a cold, sour, cheek-puckering beer is the only answer, and I am right.
Pi Bar Altrincham. Or a Bar called Pi? Untappd seems to think so. By design or chance you can see right down the road. Big windows. Like a moving small town painting. Looks better when it’s raining. Gives it a watercolour sheen. Noisy. Especially THAT laugh. Dogs welcome, as are children. Staff who stick around. Chatty. The Boss always lets on, knows your name. Beer artwork. Boddingtons. Fancy American brewery. Belgian. All bases covered. Early drink after buying the veg from the market. The old couple are in. As they leave, ‘See you next week!’ Him: ‘I hope so’.
Mark Bailey (no relation)
100 words is a challenging limit,
To write a blog post with something interesting in it.
Carefully selecting a subject to cover,
something to appeal to the UK beer lover.
What can I talk about? I know, revitalisation,
It’s the latest buzz word issue, dividing the nation.
Only its a bit too intense to fit into some prose,
And my thoughts on the subject I think everyone knows.
I could talk about a cracking West Coast IPA,
But everyone does that, every day.
I need something controversial, make everyone shout,
I can write loads of words, except, wait, I’ve run out..
“Pour smoothly and in one motion.”
I’d love to, but your can has outgrown my glass!
Why increase in size from schooners to size/strength combinations rarely available even in specialist bars?
Whether delicious or terrible I’d prefer smaller sizes when unable to share. Smaller mean more different beers can be tried. Smaller mean Fewer should miss out.
Is it even sensible to routinely sell Doubles, Triples and Imperials in 440 millilitres and larger?
I think not; but still I buy.
Time to choose between multiple glasses, a murky top-up or pouring some away.
<Grabs another schooner>
RUSHED HALF DOWN ORWELL’S MOON
What’s great about Orwell’s fantasy boozer?
The strawberry pint pots – bar service – minimalist menu? Lovely… but isn’t it quaint to the point of twee?
The scariest thing: George Orwell’s there. What does one say to the man? “Loved Animal Farm, but 1984 was a bit heavy…” – “tell us about the wars”? “Y’like Corbyn then”? I’d want to hear the man speak… but my banality would ruin the ambience for us both.
I’d find the presence of the literary giant intimidating. Orwell would spoil The Moon Under Water. I’d be happier, miserably, at Wetherspoons…
* * *
We’re really grateful to everyone for taking part (imagine throwing a party and nobody comes) but our favourite was by…
[seriously, one pause too many]
[oh, for f–]
Well done, Mark!