Ever since my Mum bought Emlyn membership to CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) for his birthday along with the 2010 Good Beer Guide, beer has become big news in our house. I even found myself surfing home brewing sites. Seriously.
This year, bitter has become an epiphany for me. There are so many fabulous summer ales that are light and low in calories, I’m a convert. OK, so they’re not that much lower, but so much better for one than fizzy lager. The volume of liquid I’d otherwise glug in wine is much better consumed in pints of bitter.
Subtly and slowly, I can feel myself morphing from a snooty white wine sort of a girl, to an earth-mother bitter drinker. And I am embracing the challenge to find the best pub within staggering distance.
Oh, how I love the pub. Let’s face it, the pub is our defining talent as a nation. It’s what we do best. The summer pub tables in the garden, the cosy inglenook fireplace in the winter – the pub is a place of sanctuary and warmth for everyone. Even The Little One was heard sobbing loudly in the playground when she fell over, ‘Take me to the pub.’
So after a crappy week here in Rees towers, Emlyn and I headed out to seek the bosom embrace of the boozer. We chose the Evening Star, THE Mecca for beer drinkers in Brighton. There’s been a brewery on this site for donkeys years and the low beams are steeped in beer-making pride. This is a place for the serious connoisseur.
‘We’ve got a few casualties from the beer festival in Lewes,’ the barman explained when nodded to the bloke by the window who appeared to be asleep on his stool. But no matter, the beer was delicious. Light and lovely and we’d already fallen in love with the place until I walked around the pillar and walked slap bang into it:
THE biggest, smelliest fart I’ve EVER smelt.
And that’s when I realized what was going on. There were big, hulking great bloke guffs wafting from every corner. It was like a siege of farts. We had to drink up and leave.
This type of flagrant trumping can only mean that these type of ale folk are used to blowing off in public. To be honest, it probably hasn’t mattered before, as it the God-awful smell has always been masked by the smokers.
Choking and gagging, we lurched down the road to a pub with a younger crowd, but it smelt of cleaning products.
So bring back smoking, I say. I’ll take passive smoke over annihilation by fart any day. Or the deeply un-relaxing smell of chemical loo-freshner. Or, alternatively, can someone hurry up and invent charcoal padded underpants?
The Big One presented her Father’s Day card this morning to her hung-over Dad, explaining that she’d made it at eleven pm in a sleepy haze. ‘Happy Farter’s Day’ it proclaimed inside (entirely by accident).