A doffed hat and little bow to Irish Times’ reader Michael McEvaney, who had this excellent letter published in today’s paper:
Madam, – Happy Arthur’s Day, our annual celebration of Guinness’s stranglehold on the Irish brewing industry for the past 50 years or more, a stranglehold that means Ireland is the only beer-drinking country in the world where nearly every one of its thousands of pubs have the same handful of flavourless, mass-produced beers.
Devotees of Guinness’s stout refer to it regularly as the “real” thing: how something that’s churned out by the lorryload with preservatives and pasteurisation can be called the real thing is beyond the understanding of this particular beer drinker.
Real beer must be microbrewed – chemical-free in small batches, as is standard practice in other countries. This process allows the flavours to develop and emerge. These days there are several small, independent breweries, both in and outside Dublin, brewing stout and other beers in this fashion – in other words, brewing the “real” thing, and that’s what this particular beer-drinker will be celebrating this Arthur’s Day.
– Yours, etc,
For the life of me, I’ve never worked out how a nation famed worldwide for its ability to put away drink puts up with the spectacular lack of choice available. As Mr McEvaney says, there only are a handful of the same flavourless beers in almost every pub, ones people are apparently happy to drink by the pint until they fall over. One must therefore conclude that people drink them only to get drunk – it’s certainly not for reasons of palate or discernment. Continue reading