Saturday, June 21, 2014

World Sup 2014: a fine way to drown your sorrows after England's early exit

The World Cup may be over for the Three Lions but there is a corner of a car park that will be forever England this weekend.
The West Riding Licensed Refreshment Rooms in Dewsbury is staging its World Sup.
The format is a beer from the hometown or club area of all 23 members of the England Squad, with particular emphasis on new ales from 'The  West'.
I went shortly after it kicked off on Friday and was impressed by the ale quality, atmosphere and the grub.
A non real ale friend and I arrived at tea time, and to my shame she had to steer me away from a forensic examination of the Yankee themed food menu and to tell me to get my act together and think beer.
Thoroughly chastened, I headed to to 'Platform Three' on Dewsbury Railway Station and began figuring out my ale tactics.
Should I start at the back with a 'Joe Hart' (Salopian - Lemon Dream' or spearhead my attack with a 'Wayne Rooney' (First Chop, Toc).
In the end I opted for a midfield half of Maxim's Beautiful Game 4%, which is dedicated to Jordan Henderson.
Plenty of midfield bite
Now, never mind what Alex Ferguson and Joey Barton might have said, Jordan is a winner. My friend - I repeat not a beer geek - commented on its 'sharpness' compared to her Five Points Pale 4%, a beer which I had suggested.
Not that she was dissatisfied with that, it just didn't have the necessary drive up field she was after. She later went for the 'Jordan' ale, which I think ended up being our man of the match
Next I opted for The Rooney beer, brewed by First Chop Brewing Arm, of Salford, a nod to Manchester United. The 4.2% pale hit the spot and made a perfect accompaniment to my Cadillac Burger.
As I alluded to earlier, the other attraction of this festival was the food. Parked outside in the car park was a big yellow school bus manned by the Roadhog Catering Company.
It was selling good American food at very reasonable prices and with minimal waiting times, which doesn't always happen at beer festivals. So fair play for getting it right.
After eating I fancied moving away from pale beers. There was a choice (on handpull) on the outside bar of two red ales, Blackjack's Belgian Red Red IPA 6.8% (Chris Smalling) or Moncada's Notting Hill Ruby Rye 5.2% (Frank Lampard). I went for the lower volume beer, which was a pleasing change of style and I gather it is normally only available in and round London.
Next I made a tactical blunder. Instead of finishing with the Blackjack I opted for the Phil Jagielka beer.
Usually I like Dunham Massey beers but this 4.2% stout didn't cut it for me. But I'm not complaining too stridently, it was a bit like the player's own performance - disappointing.
I'm not sure I witnessed too much gnashing of teeth when news of Italy's defeat and England's elimination filtered through at the festival. Everybody was enjoying their beer, the food and the laid back atmosphere as the music began.
After all football is not a matter of life or death...
World Sup continues today and tomorrow at noon.

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