Pubpaper 694 – “Ale Fatigue”

Posted: 4th February 2013 by santobugtio in Pub Paper, Writing

There are those times when a couple of beers gives you a taste for it which lasts the rest of the day when you get your session head on, then there are the other times when you struggle to get to the end of the second pint regardless of the quality of the beer.    Alcohol is, through its chemical composition is a mood enhancer, if you are in a bad mood, a few beers is not likely to make it any better, there is a greater chance the company and surroundings where you partake of those beers are what really enhances your mood.   However a good mood at the start of the beer consumption is a lot more likely end up in an extended relationship with the beer that day.

I only think about this because I’ve had more of the struggling to finish the second pint recently than is healthy.  On a good day with time on my side and no driving duties I could happily drink 4 pints of good beer before resuming my jobs later.  More and more often I’ve been finding myself thinking “can I be bothered to have another pint” despite there being technically some very good quality ale on the bar.

Not being 100% physically probably contributes to this, but equally contributing to this is a sense of “ale fatigue”.   It’s taking a lot to excite me beer wise at the moment, most weeks I can sample and name 3-4 beers I would recommend to other people.  Recently I’m averaging 1 and struggling to make 2 on a weekly basis.  However what is no surprise that the last two I could truly recommend came from the same brewery, Ilkley with their Dinner Ale and Stout Mary.

Ale presents itself in many different varieties and tastes, most of them rating at least “good”, if not better.  But there comes a time that sometimes you want something uncomplicated sitting in front of you, a decent clean flavoured continental lager.  Beers like Peroni, Becks, Erdinger and Staropramen may not give the variations in flavour that real ale does, but what it can offer is glass of beer which refreshes you, pure and simple.   This variation in taste probably has an attraction from time to time to me in regard to the old adage “a change is a good as a rest”.

Just think to when you are on holiday in Spain, rarely do you go and look at the bar to see what beers are on, you simply ask for a small or large house beer.  You know that it will be one of the big four brands, Mahou, Cruzcampo, San Miguel or Estrella Damm.  There is very little between them, all of them are inoffensive, quite unmemorable about a minute after you empty your glass, but do the job you ask of them, not to invoke internal deliberation about the various aspects of the liquid you have just drank, but simply being to wet your palette in a hot climate.

On your return, the inverse of the argument above is even truer, after 2 weeks on a lagered beer diet, the fatigue definitely sets it and you are dying for a good real ale again.

Of course the UK’s climate in recent years has not necessitated the need to release excess sun induced heat via lager consumption, in fact in some parts of the country leaving the house has been the main challenge for periods, and liquid of the water variety has not been in short supply.  When it is cold, windy or rainy, or a combination of these elements, ale has its attractions as a more comforting, welcoming drink, which I guess is why it sells so well in the overall UK beer market compared to other European countries.

This of course doesn’t stop the mainstream cider and lager brewers trying to tap into the 2 weeks of summer booked into the 2nd and 3rd week in July each year. Every spring the pub sets are rolled into studios, tarted up and the “sunlight” lighting rigs are brought out to create this ideal British summer day.  All this effort for a 14 day window really doesn’t seem worth it.

It shows that optimism is alive and well in ad-land, something which is sorely needed in pub land at the moment, lets hope that for their sake a good summer is granted to us this year, putting needed money in the tills.  Until next week, happy supping.

  1. Curmudgeon says:

    It’s funny, sometimes I’m really struggling to finish a second pint or bottle, but at other times I really feel as though I could shift a gallon, unfortunately often when driving or when I’ve just opened the last bottle in the house…