A few days ago I received a phone call asking if I minded my name being passed on in connection with a new business venture. Apparently, an upmarket beer bar was planning to open in Ramsbottom and would I mind giving some advice. All those years of sleeping in doorways, on park benches, just to selflessly test real ale. I knew one day they’d pay off. Someone wants to hear my views on beer, pubs and such like. And they’re willing to pay for the privilege. Let’s be honest. I would have probably done it for free, but hallelujah there is a God!
Actually, if poor old Beadle hadn’t popped his clogs, I might have been half suspecting a setup. It sounded too good to be true. But yesterday the call came and an informal meeting was arranged. My choice (quelle surprise) was a good pub. Hence my evening in the Hare & Hounds. Quite clever, I thought, as not only am I guaranteed a good session, but I can use the pub as a benchmark. I was a bit worried at first, as one wants to make a good impression, and it’s one thing to be a armchair philosopher, but we are talking someone’s livelihood here. Anyway, it turned out Rick, my benefactor, liked a scoop as well. More of this as it nears fruition, but if everything works out, Ramsbottom will get a very significant addition to the drinking/dining scene.
Being a philanthropist, I had suggested some people might happen to be passing. However, surprisingly few people fancied a free session on a Tues night-fearing a Weds morning backlash? And some actually had things to do. If it had been me, I would have been round quicker than you can say “Tibet is a province of China.” Anyway, those of us present enjoyed a varied selection. Outlaw Wild Mule (3.9%) was as good as usual. New brewery to me-Concrete Cow, had Watling Gold (4.5%) which despite being light, had a smoked malt aftertaste. Fyfe Niblick (4.2%) was also light, and pleasant enough, if unexciting. Abbeydale Brimstone (3.9%) was much more like it, with a very noticeable bitterness. However, the find of the night was Black Country Thomas Guest Cobblers (4.4%) which was light, and had the wheat beer bubblegum effect tempered by pleasing bitterness.
A good night out and, despite my fears, when I got home, I had remembered to record the Sandy Denny Story.