“You may like to serve only beer at your party. It is very good with hot cheese savouries, or with hot dogs. Choose your beer carefully if you have only one sort. Some of the light ales chill excellently and have better flavour than many lagers. Ladies seldom like the dark varieties, so have an alternative drink for them. You may like to buy a cask of beer, in which case ask for a Pin which hold 4½ gallons. Beer consumption is the most difficult to calculate, but 1¾ pints per head would be an average to base your guess upon. You know your friends best.”
From Len Deighton’s Action Cook Book, 1965, reprinted as a Penguin paperback in 1967.
“[The younger generation] tend to prefer bottled beer; perhaps because it is widely advertised, perhaps because it is ‘packaged goods’. Moreover, draught beer is ‘what Dad drinks’ and, presumably, he cannot be right.”
From ‘Pleasing all Palates’ in Beer in Britain (1960), based on a 1958 special supplement of The Times.
“Before opening time there is a Q, virgin aroma of freshness, an inimitable pub-perfume mixture of hops and malt, spirits and polish with perhaps a faint touch of violet-scented air-freshener. This is my boyhood nostalgia. Spilt ale, dried and sugar-sticky.”
Adrian Bailey in an essay for Len Deighton’s London Dossier, 1967.
“There is something more than a nodding acquaintance between the old Painswick folk and the incomers now, but it is a wary relationship… It is to the Falcon on the main street, or to the even more worldly pub a few miles up the road, that the gentlemen repair for their whiskies and sodas; the villagers — or, as they like to call themselves, the working classes — are more likely to be found with a pint of beer or cider in the Royal Oak or the Golden Hart, which are not half so smart.”
Geoffrey Moorhouse, The Other England, Penguin, 1964.
“I drank only water; the other workmen, near fifty in number, were great guzzlers of beer… We had an alehouse boy who attended always in the house to supply the workmen. My companion at the press drank every day a pint before breakfast, a pint at breakfast with his bread and cheese, a pint between breakfast and dinner, a pint at dinner, and pint in the afternoon about six o’clock, and another when he had done his day’s work.”
Benjamin Franklin recalls working in a London printing house in 1725 in chapter IV of his autobiography.
“[The inn] had been entirely renovated and refitted in modern style since Jude’s residence here… Tinker Taylor drank off his glass and departed, saying it was too stylish a place now for him to feel at home in unless he was drunker than he had money to be just then… The bar had been gutted and newly arranged throughout, mahogany fixtures having taken the place of the old painted ones, while at the back of the standing-space there were stuffed sofa-benches. The room was divided into compartments in the approved manner, between which were screens of ground glass in mahogany framing, to prevent topers in one compartment being put to the blush by the recognitions of those in the next. On the inside of the counter two barmaids leant over the white-handled beer-engines, and the row of little silvered taps inside, dripping into a pewter trough… At the back of the barmaids rose bevel-edged mirrors, with glass shelves running along their front, on which stood precious liquids that Jude did not know the name of, in bottles of topaz, sapphire, ruby and amethyst.”
From the Project Gutenberg edition of Jude the Obscure, 1894.
“I used to drink brown and mild but beer in the 1970s was so rubbish that I eventually succumbed to lager… [Then] I discovered the Firkin pubs, Bruce’s Brewery… I had a pint of Whale Ale and thought, wow, this is fantastic! This is how beer is supposed to be… I could be wrong but I don’t think that in ten years, the police have never been called to a micropub. There’s twice as many hops in real ale as in lager, and hops are soporific – they make you sleepy and peaceful.”
Martyn Hillier, founder of the first micropub and godfather of the micropub movement, in an interview with one of the authors of this blog, 12/05/2015.
“Beer, caraway seed, beeswax, coffee, pine-logs and melting snow combined with the smoke of thick, short cigars in a benign aroma across which every so often the ghost of sauerkraut would float.”
Part of a longer, highly evocative description of Zum Schwarzen Adler in Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Gifts, 1977.
“Roy Bean gave cold-blooded killers, cattle rustlers, and horse thieves no mercy. ‘Court’s in session,’ he would announce, and then delivered his sentence without pausing: ‘To be hanged by the neck until dead.’ As each trial ended, he would serve up cold beer all around; his courtroom was also his saloon.”
From The American West by Dee Brown, 1995.
“The warmth of the little pubs and their no-delay service stand in pleasant contrast to the waiting, formality, boredom, and frustration evoked by city offices, museums, churches, concert halls, airline terminals, and retail stores. Not far from the likes of these may usually be found a pub into which one, given the least interlude of freedom, may ‘bolt’ and therein soothe the irritations of urban chafing with an interval of pure felicity.”
Ray Oldenburg on The English Pub’, in The Great Good Place, 1989, repr. 1997.