Why do so many people drink and eat rubbish?  Nuggets, that sort of thing.  And lager.  A lager at the end of the day is hard to beat, I concede.  But drinking pints of tasteless chemical fizz in the pub is something I just don’t understand when decent ale is available.

Pre-football on a Saturday, a group of friends and I meet at the Grape and Grain, Crystal Palace.  We usually drink Dark Star Hophead.  This is about as good as it gets (certainly in South London).  Last Saturday, ahead of a rare 4-1 win, we drank Hop Back Summer Lightning (though the general consensus was that this wasn’t as good as it has been) and Purity Gold.  Both lovely, and both a million times better than a pint of UK-brewed tasteless branded fizz.

So why don’t more people drink proper beer instead of the branded fizzy rubbish?  The answer is the branding.  Not necessarily the successful branding and advertising behind Stella et al, but the success of branded bitters.  Most lager-drinkers’ experiences of what they would call “ale” involve the likes of John Smith’s or similar through dirty pipes and an electric pump.  Understandably, they stick to the lager: tasteless is better than tasting horrible.  At least that was my excuse until I saw the light.

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