The background one

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I am a man of a certain age who has been drinking beer longer than I care to remember, but being born in Burton on Trent I like to think I had a good grounding in drinking some decent stuff. I do remember when I first went out with the family and was allowed some alcohol I drank lager, probably Heineken I think, and fair play to the old man he didn’t give me a dry slap but just let me slowly let my taste buds grow accustomed to this strange new taste. Thankfully, when I started going on a (slightly underage) evening pub crawl with my Dad I soon graduated to Marstons Pedigree and Draught Bass, and this being the late 70’s it was when they were both in top notch condition. This was back in the days when Pedigree supposedly didn’t travel well so if you had it outside of a 10 mile radius of B-o-T it wasn’t so good, but I can’t really remember whether this was true or not. I do know there were some pubs where it was kept better than others, and as for the Bass…well that was always best at the Coopers Tavern, just across the street from the brewery, where it was served straight from the cask, and when it was good, it was really, really good. I seem to remember my Dad referring to it as liquid nectar which may or may not be a good way to describe a beer, but I knew exactly what he meant.

Fast forward a few years, I get a job at Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham and Deb and I move to the fair city. I remember our early drinking years encompassing the old Hippodrome bar where the Pedigree was quite decent, Draught Burton Ale and Entire in various pubs, Courage Directors, and the Old Hooky, again served straight from the cask, in the Midland Hotel. At some point in the 90’s on a trip to the USA we came across some microbreweries and brew pubs that were serving beers that were a little different, more flavoursome or with extra ingredients. At the time I wasn’t aware of being able to get anything like this in the UK, and certainly not in Birmingham. My moment of revelation was at the White Horse in Parsons Green a few years back when I had my first pint of Thornbridge Jaipur, and thought “Golly, what a very tasty beer” (or something to that effect). A little later I remember reading about this upstart brewery called Brewdog and their Punk IPA, and I said to Michael Gee, then a member of staff at N&C, and now manager of the Brewdog Bar (small world, huh!), “this sounds nice, shall we order a case between us”, and thus began the adventure which has included making some great new friends via Twitter and Untappd, volunteering at a couple of beer festivals, helping out a little at a Green Duck brew day, and drinking lots, and lots of great beer. And so let the adventure continue…

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