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Sunday, 3 April 2011

Do you know what you're drinking?

It's happened to me twice this month so I thought I'd share my experiences with you. I go into a pub and order a pint of a cask beer that I know well. The beer is in excellent condition but something is amiss. The taste isn't quite right and the colour seems wrong. A few more swigs and I'm convinced that what I'm drinking isn't what the pumpclip states.

A quiet word with the bar staff ensues. On the first occasion the barman sticks to his guns -"Definitely Hawkshead Bitter". However he does go into the celllar to check. "Hawkshead Windermere Pale" he says satisfied that all is correct. "But the pump clip says "Hawkshead Bitter" I reply. "It's not the same beer". The conversation continues amicably enough but I note that the pump clip remains unchanged.

The second time was yesterday after Rovers' game. "I spot Trapper's Hat" says Bill as we walk in. We need cheering up after another defeat so pints are ordered. Wait a minute though. The beer is very pale and tastes a bit thin. I offer my opinion that this isn't Trappers' Hat but Sandpiper, a weaker beer from the same Brimstage Brewery. My friends aren't immediately sure but I'm convinced. It's my round next so I query the pump clip with the barmaid. She consults a colleague and it is soon evident that a mistake has been made. The cask had run out and seeing the name 'Brimstage Brewery' on the new cask she had presumed that it was 'Trapper's Hat'. There was much amusement that none of the regulars had spotted that their favourite beer wasn't what it seemed.

I won't name the pubs because I'm sure that there was no intention to deceive. So how often does this happen? O.K. I know a bit more about beer than some. But during the year I drink lots of beers that I'm not familiar with. Well how do I know that I'm getting the beer named on the pump or font? The answer is I don't.

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