Proper Beer

Bury Travel Blog

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Proper Beer.  One of the most maligned, misunderstood, lied about features of the British food landscape, and one of the best.  The problem is, I think, that the rest of the world thinks that beer is English for Lager, and get upset when that's not what they get.

Beer is NOT LAGER.  I like lager, I do.  From Asahi to Tiger, from Coors through Carling to Tsing Tao, there is nothing wrong with lager, and I have the photos to prove it. But it is the wrong reference for comparison to British Real Ale.  I am also not talking about the luke warm nasty bitter stuff that comes out of a gas powered lager tap and pretends its beer.  Right with you there, readers - it's not good.  I am talking about cask conditioned, genuine, manual pump served Beer.  Deuchars IPA, Crouch Vale Brewers Gold, Speckled Hen. That sort of thing.  It's MEANT to be flat.  It's not meant to be warm, per say, but it certainly isn't meant to be as cold as lager.  If you want ice cold and fizzy, drink Carling, and you deserve what you get! 

There's a bit of snobbery around it, of course, because a coterie of men with beards have made it look like a strange and esoteric subject.  Here is Sarahelaine's quick guide to real beer.

Summer ales

A good place to start.  Lager coloured but flatter and richer tasting, lighter than most beers.  Traditionally you order a pint, but if you order halves it won't go warm by the bottom.  Have names like "brewers gold" and "summer ale" and things like that.  Arkells and Crouch Vale both do nice ones.


Deuchers is better than Greene King, but both are fine.  It stands for India Pale Ale, and again, was made for warm weather.  Slightly more bitter than summer ales, but not as bitter as...


What most middle aged British men mean by "a beer."  I can't drink much - denser, often full of hops, and makes me feel sleepy.  But then I amn't a bloke!


Almost as dense as Guiness.  I don't like it much, I'm afraid.  And you feel like you've eaten a meal.  But it is nice if you like the heavier ones.

40 Shilling

It's a Scottish thing.  It's nice.


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photo by: sarahelaine