Talking Wine – October 2017

I am afraid I am not a great fan of non-alcoholic beer or lager and would always suggest the 50/50 mix with the real thing if you need to lower the alcohol levels for any reason. However, Heineken now feel that they have solved the ‘ultimate challenge’ for brewers by producing a tasty alcohol-free lager. Many might say that full alcohol Heineken only marginally achieves this, but sales figures around the world have apparently been very encouraging. In Britain Heineken has suffered a decline – mainly due a large supermarket delisting the product – but the pending purchase of 1,900 Punch Taverns pubs will help. With so many wonderful regional breweries setting up everywhere I have to admit that any mass brewed beer or lager would not be high on my list.

Seven priests went to a pub in Cardiff recently to celebrate the ordination of one of their colleagues but just after placing the first round were thrown out by the landlord, who assumed that they were another rowdy stag party. The priests were initially unable to convince the staff that they were genuine and were resigned to turning the other cheek and walking out – not being the types to cause a fuss! However a neutral observer was finally able to authenticate their profession, and a free round was the order of the day. Indeed one of the priests was known as Father James and by pure chance it was discovered that the round they were poured was a Brains Brewery special called “Reverend James”, named after a 19th Century Methodist minister who was also a well-known brewer in his day.

The deputy landlord – a Mr Morgan – commented that they had been great sports and seen the funny side of the situation.

A sixty-eight year old woman has completed the remarkable feat of visiting every Wetherspoons pub in the country – over a thousand with five more opening this year. It doesn’t sound madly exciting to me, but her husband was a trainspotter which might explain it. Now if she had visited all the wonderful micro-breweries in the country or every pub called the ‘King’s Head’ I would have understood it, but Wetherspoons! What an exciting life some people lead. Actually I went to a rather good Wetherspoons pub in Exeter recently so perhaps I am being a bit unkind!