Last night at our local, The Drapers Arms, we enjoyed perfect London Pride: solid foam, dry bitterness, a subtle note of leafy green, wrapped in marmalade, with a lantern glow.
Delightful as this was, it also triggered a sense of frustration, because lots of people won’t believe us, because they don’t believe that Pride can be that good, because they’ve never had a pint that isn’t half-dead.
The thing about beer, and cask ale especially, is that all the subtle variables make recommending or endorsing any particular product a risky business.
It’s as if you’ve told people about a great song…
…and then when they try to act on your advice and listen to it they get, nine times out of ten, the shred:
Or like giving a film five stars but the only version on the market is the studio cut, pan-and-scan, VHS-transfer with burned in Dutch subtitles.
That’s why these days we tend to talk about specific pints or encounters rather than saying “Pride is a great beer” or “Tribute is fantastic”.
Or, alternatively, give mild endorsements with multiple caveats.
The best you can hope for, really, is that a beer will more often be good than bad when people encounter it in the wild.
A footnote: The Drapers had Pride’s beer miles listed as 6,120. It’s not as if it’s being brewed in Japan in the wake of the takeover, of course, but ownership matters.