Top blogger Earl (link to left) confesses to being a beer snob. Well if it's confession time - me too! Here are five particular faves:
1. Hobgoblin (Wychwood) - my current fave. A rich ruby ale. The Wychwood brewery's marketing/PR is amazingly good with the 'afraid you might taste something lagerboy?' poster being a modern classic.
2. Old Peculier (Theakstons) I've been drinking this since I was a teenager and had a bottle last night. A strong, dark sweetish beer.
3. Old Speckled Hen (Morland) Nice name - nice beer.
4. Dragon Stout (Red Stripe) - a very strong (7.5%) very sweet stout imported from Jamaica. It used to be very hard to get hold of now it's all over everywhere like a rash.
5. Stinger (Hall & Woodhouse) - an organic beer with tie in to all round good thing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
And with one exception, that's all English stuff. I said in a comment to Earl that Europe was the place for beer. One good thing about Belgium is the beers (he wrote resisting the obvious jibes about Belgium) - wonderful stuff, many coming from a monastic brewing tradition. Honourable mention is also due to the German beer purity law - the Reinheitsgebot (1516 and the oldest food quality regulation in the world - those clever Bavarians again!) - water, barley and hops and that's it. No mucking about! The Reinheitsgebot was repealed in 1987 but is observed voluntarily by the great majority of German breweries.
Moving on, to my embarrassment I neglected to mention in last Thursday's posting the role of my line editor in the crime novel. Damn, she's good! Deadly in fact and the book would be much worse without her input. Should have said so in the first place.
A strange story via Jailhouse Lawyer (again link to left). The local Amish are in a spot of bother with the State of Kentucky. They refuse to display flashing lights and an orange triangle on the rear of their horse drawn vehicle as required by state law (this sort of ostentation contravenes their religious beliefs and they use reflective tape and lanterns instead). Seven Amish are facing criminal charges, three other are appealing convictions for the same thing and the American Civil Liberties Union has sprung to their defence. Now, like 99.9999999% of humanity, this belief strikes me as bizarre but they are them and that's how they feel on the subject. There is a general point here - the right to believe whatever you like and put it into practice if you do no harm. There is no suggestion that the Amish have done any harm by their alternative safety measures. Maybe the State of Kentucky could let just them be?
Strange newspaper headline of the day from the sports section: "Wenger wary of 'killing' youngsters". I should hope so too...
Strange sporting event of the week: the selection by England of total unknown Darren Pattinson. Huh?
Grumpy Old Man type enquiry: why does no-one take any notice of 'no junk mail' stickers on letterboxes these days?