Sunday, February 14, 2010
In Praise of Context
If there's one theme that I keep returning to when it comes to beer (and food) it's context. The simple can be elevated to the divine, if the context is right.
Like many of us, I have a pretty stressful job. I manage people, and have to keep a number of balls in the air at any one time. On one hand, I like my job; I'm in a good position, with a good rep and with prospects in front of me. On the other hand - i'm not really passionate about it. What I am passionate about - writing and beer - gets an airing here.
Last week I had a rare day off. I took a little lunchtime walk to a pub in Bramley, where I live, called The Old Unicorn. It's a Taylor's pub, and very much a 'local' atmosphere going on. Depending on the day, it can be dead or busy - on this day, there was a fair old crowd in there. I picked up a paper, ordered a sandwich and a pint of Landlord, and sat down.
Taylor's Landlord. A beer risen to near mythical heights outside of Yorkshire, and normally a beacon of quality no matter where you drink it. Living in Leeds, I've spent many a night in Bradford, Keighley and Haworth supping this archetypal ubiquitous pale bitter. Despite the legend, it can be ordinary (very ordinary) when served in bad condition.
But this pint wasn't. It was bang on. Fresh, floral, malty, sweet, with a tight, everlasting head, it brightened my mood so much that it vanished in four gulps and another was ordered. I wasn't in glamorous surroundings, nor supping some imported US gem - this was plain old Yorkshire in a glass, with the sports pages open in front of me (dissecting our loss against Carlisle the night before) and a Club Sandwich to fill my stomach. This was heaven. This was four days ago, and I can still taste that pint now.