Every Friday I pick up a copy of FELIX to glance at the headline, look at the centrefold to see if I recognise anyone in it, quietly complain to myself that my half-hearted attempts at developing a six-pack have yet to succeed, read Hangman, lament the fact that it’s only one page long, and amuse myself with the idea of running for Felix Editor just to convert the whole damn thing into 32 pages of Hangman 4 teh lulz (note to Grace, I’m not actually seriously going to do it).
Which is why when, this time, I actually flipped through what the cat brought in, I saw a picture of four beautiful, cold, gleaming chalices of my favourite alcoholic drink on Earth, and got deflated by dear Pietro’s lengthy denunciation of it. Now, if I were not wizened by the deep, harrowing abyss that is the 9Gag comment section, I’d have screamed out “I’m offended!”, to which my roommate would have said “Hi offended, I’m Dad”. Instead, I accept his concession to accept people who love ales, but then, I’m bored out of my wits and am looking for something to divert me from cold, hard reality.
Now some of you may wonder why I’m doing this. Why are you picking a fight for no reason and belabouring a dumb, moot point? To which I reply that I descend from a family in which my father met my mother when he gatecrashed a wedding my mother was attending, and one in which my mother pranked her colleague by telling her that a certain Ms Lyon was asking for her, and gave her a phone number to call, which turned out to be the Zoo.
In complete disagreement with my dear Pietro, I believe that ale is the most heavenly exquisite elixir brewed by angels and unicorns. Being unable to rely on being ice cold or fizzy like lager in order to actually taste good, it tastes good on its own merit. Every wholesome, rich, textured drop is a delight to the senses, and, being heavy, I feel like I’m having a real, proper drink which feels like a full meal instead of the bad lager, which, devoid of all content, serves only to get you wasted. It’s not that I don’t like lager. Hoegarden, Carling, Tsingtao and London Lager (the yellow tap at Eastside) are definite beauts, and I can swallow down Carlsberg, Heineken and Stella anyday, but ales are in a whole different league.
Coming from a country where the local alcoholic scene consists of the world’s second highest alcohol tax after Norway, a piteous selection of lagers (Carlsberg, Heineken, Tiger and not much else), a large population of teetotallers and social disapproval, the UK is a dream! I’d never seen more than five taps at a bar before (granted I don’t go out much).
As a history and trivia buff, I know that ale is the traditional type of beer that was drunk all over the world before a new type of yeast was introduced, giving rise to lagers. This was the stuff the ancient Egyptians drank, and which your ancestors probably drank (But not mine. Mine drank tea), and when the time came for everything to change, the British, in a quintessentially British move, decided to stay out of it.
On your point about how ale ruins nights out, I respectfully disagree, it’s the only thing that allows me to go on nights out. Beer is about the only alcoholic drink I can tolerate before my alcohol flush kicks in and turns my face redder than the on my first date. It’s the only alcoholic drink that tastes good on its own. I mean if vodka tasted good instead of potato juice with a strong hint of industrial solvent, you wouldn’t need to mix it in with coke to hide the taste. Also, I can’t afford whisky and good wine, and I don’t dare try the hard liquor China passes off as beer (Moutai, anyone?).
And don’t get me started on craft beers. Don’t you denounce craft beers! They’re the one thing that rescued the American beer industry by flooding it with actual, quality beverages. You, in your spirited snobbery (pun fully intended) have failed to see the multitudes of American beer lovers who hail their rescue from the clutches of Budweiser, Coors, and Miller which they had to gulp down for decades with tears in their eyes. It is the passionate, can-do, experimental attitude of brewers who made America great again, in the hard work, value-adding type of way, not in the build a wall and encourage xenophobic racism while waving your tiny orange hands kind of way.
In short, we get it Pietro. You don’t like ales, its fine, but you don’t need to rub it in everyone’s faces. But, as a Malaysian speaking to an Italian, let me extend an olive branch of peace, and while we can agree to disagree on ales, we can both agree on two very important points. English food is boring, and Budweiser tastes absolutely disgusting.