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Mine's a pint

These days I'm more inclined to go for a meal to a pub that does good food, rather than a restaurant. One of the main reasons for this is the matter of beer. I believe that a good glass of draught bitter is better with a fair number of foods - red meat, game, pies, sausages, offal - than pretty well any wine. Yet most restaurants simply don't serve decent beer. There are a number of reasons for this:
  1. Snobbery. It's considered beneath them to serve beer. I blame William the Conqueror - when the Normans invaded they introduced a class differential between wine and beer that has stuck to this day. And, of course, many restaurants have a continental European influence, and their idea of beer is lager (which itself is fine with many foods, but not in the same league).
  2. Ignorance. Your average wine waiter hasn't a clue about decent draught beers, and certainly wouldn't know how to keep one. Your best hope in most restaurants is a good bottled beer. But with bitter, the difference between a bottled beer and the stuff from a barrel is like the difference between wine from a box and wine from a bottle. These people, who sensibly wouldn't give a wine box room, are serving the equivalent in beer.
  3. Mark up. My suspicion is that this is the big one. Even in a seriously over-priced restaurant, it's hard to charge more than about £4 for a pint of beer. Wine can range from maybe £10 to £500 a bottle. Are they going to provide beer if they can get away without it? Nope.
Don't get me wrong. I'm very fond of wine. But any restaurant would be the better for hosting a good draught bitter.


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