Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Stamping down on Real Ale Drinkers and the Causes of Real Ale Drinkers

Real Ale Drinkers
Norman, Gordon, Keith, Simone, Norman(2) & Gordone

Lord save me from Real Ale Drinkers. For those of you who are lucky enough not to know what it is Real ale is "beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide". Which is all very noble and worthy and clear. Dealing with a real ale drinker is somewhat more difficult.

I had a real ale drinker in for dinner this evening. Talk about annoying. I've sold expensive bottles of wine with less effort than it took to convince this chap that our real ale offering would suit his highly defined palate. I could give a fuck to be honest. Order it or don't, but just make a fucking decision. Oh my God the questions,

"Is it local?"

"Is it a heavy ale?"

"What are the principal flavours?" (Are you fucking kidding me?)

"Is it a dark or light beer?"

"If you had to use just one word to describe it what would it be?"

Okay I made the last one up but it wouldn't have surprised me if he had asked it. I refused to answer all questions but the first and just went and got him a quarter pint sample. I'm not pulling your plonker when I tell you that he swirled it around his mouth like mouth wash before swallowing it. There was a man from Del Monte moment when we all waited with baited breath for him to make his decision......................and the man from Del Monte he say "Yes". If it took ten minutes to get a beer order how long would the food take?!

I never thought I would see the day when a £2.50 pint of beer would cause so much deliberation, thought, indecision and in the end anti climax. But that's the reality of Real Ale Drinkers. True, this guy was at the plummier/more pretentious end of the scale but still fairly typical of Real Ale Drinkers. As it happened the rest of the meal went off without any further delays or wonderings over the coffee.

They are a rum lot and in my opinion they should be shunned as much as possible. I'm not advocating direct action against Real Ale Drinkers, but rather a ten feet away at any one time policy. But how do you know when you are in the company of or are in close proximity to a Real Ale Drinker? How can you ensure that your night in the pub isn't ruined by the tut tutting of a Mr Smuggy know it all as he looks down his nose at you and your "fizzy" beer? What you need is a handy cut out and keep list of ways to spot a Real Ale Drinker. I've gone ahead and compiled such a list in a handy section I call....

The WellDoneFillet Guide to Spotting a Real Ale drinker
  1. Drinking/Enjoying a pint of Real Ale. Obvious really. But sometimes "ordinary" people buy a pint of real ale out of curiosity. If their first reaction isn't one of "get that the fuck out of my mouth and get me a Carlsberg now I'm gonna throw up" then you have a Real Ale Drinker.
  2. Strangeness. Real Ale Drinkers are very strange people. They have an aura of strangeness that shows itself as twitchiness, fidgeting, and quite probably talking to themselves.
  3. Name. Most Real Ale Drinkers are called Norman, Gordon, Keith, or Simon. There are a few women who enjoy flat brown beer and they are also called Norman, Gordon, Keith, or Simon but with an "e" at the end because they are after all ladies.
  4. Beards. All Real Ale Drinkers have facial hair, women included. And I don't mean fashionable goatees or ironic beards that are all very cool at the moment. I mean ye old sea dog type yeaaaaaaar beards.
  5. Clothes. Lots of greens and browns. Corduroy still swings with these people as do arm patches and grey duffle coats. Jumpers are important too in the Real Ale Community. Having studied their ways, from a distance you understand, for quite some time I believe, and I could be wrong, that the jumper is like some sort of status symbol or symbol of rank within the community. The duller and older the jumper the higher your rank.
  6. Plastic Bag. Real Ale Drinkers are NEVER seen without a plastic bag. And a plastic bag from a shop that closed down years ago at that. Chances are the bag will be inside out. It will contain books and note pads and quite probably their mother's head. My investigations have not yet got me close enough to find out. The bag itself will be of a very high quality.
  7. Fussiness. Real Ale drinkers are fussier and more belligerent than Guinness drinkers and that says something. I'd go as far to say that they make Guinness drinkers look carefree and relaxed when it comes to their favourite tipple. They can send their pint back all night long if it isn't exactly how it should be. And I mean exactly. No quarter will be given when it comes to getting a nice luke warm pint of brown pish.
  8. Obsessives. Their love of Real Ale will probably have come about due to a love of some other minority hobby like playing Scrabble or stamp collecting or any form of collecting. Their homes will be awash with protective plastic covers and unopened boxes of toys and large dusty piles of newspapers. Look around you in the office, is there a collector there? If so, chances are they are a Real Ale drinker too.
  9. Friends. They are only friends with other Real Ale Drinkers. Don't try and engage them in conversation (why would you?) you will fail. If they are on their own in the pub they will have their head in an obscure publication like the Beer Drinkers Almanac or Waiter and Buss Boy Monthly. They love a good almanac. Chances are they will be joined by a brown green mass of fellow Real Ale Drinkers. They gather in packs for safety, much like a nocturnal animal that is scared of it's own shadow.
You have been warned people. Stay away from them.

49 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Anonymous said...

Ten feet away, no. They should all be blindfolded and marched into an open manhole.
When you think it over you'll know I'm right.

Anonymous said...

Add more hair to the women's backs and suspenders to the gents and you pretty much described a Canadian!

Manuel said...

bbb: I was sure you would come out in favour of think you know a person....

Upset: oooohh controversial....

Niall said...

here here, fuckin conservatives. almost as bad as wine buffs....... lol

Megan McGurk said...

I'm looking for Carlsberg when I go out, Manuel. The carbonation's good for you.
I suggest dragging the moldy ale drinkers over the the spout and fill 'em up before they can ask all the annoying questions.

The part about the plastic bag accessory was brilliant (and true!).

Ali said...

Lol. We get less of that at my bar and more of this:
Dumbass: Arrogant Bastard? Gimme one of those.
Me: Have you tried it before?
Dumbass: No, but that's what I want.
Me: Okay, here you go.
Dumbass: Gross, that's nasty.

Anonymous said...

Real Ale Drinkers should have a cage match to the death with Wine Snobs. Fuckers got no sense of humor... i once worked a wine auction where people paid >300 USD for a freakin' bottle. At the end of the night, when i asked if they wanted a bag so they could drink it in the parking lot, you'd have thought i'd have farted aloud.

Cycles Goff said...

My name is not Norman, but I do have the plastic bag and the beard.


Anonymous said...

Wrong, wrong, wrong Wrong.

Me and you could fall out Manuel.

I hear where you are coming from, but its an easy target, already done by Half Man Half Biscuit.

Drinking ale compared to drinking pissy burton on trent brewed lager makes you realise who is in the right on this one.... and it isn't the lager drinkers thats for sure.

Irish people and ale is a funny one, no matter what i get from the offy when i'm home... "oooh is that like smithwicks" as that has been the only point of reference for the apst 100 years.. no, no its not. Being an ale drinker there is a bit like being a veggie was in the 80s - an oddity for local pointing competitions.

There is a place in Lisburn that brews its own Manuel - forget its name now, the something or other brewery - i recomend you get down there..

Anonymous said...

Now that you have completed your wine course you are clearly going to have to take one on Real Ale ;-)

Anonymous said...

Its all snobbery or elitism - wine, cheese, ale, whatever - eat and drink what tastes good to you.

WKD drinkers are still scum tho.

The Little Cheese said...

Haha, I dated a real ale freak (younger than the picture you posted) some years ago and the strangeness and facial hair is spot on.

However, he and his chums I think all had a drink problem. Perhaps 'ale enthusiasts' are actually alcoholics trying to cover it up. A bit like anorexics who eat rice cakes and apples non stop?

Anonymous said...

Jeez, did he annoy you!! That was very funny though, I nearly did a snot bubble!!!
I've printed the guide and will distrubute to my worthy friends asap! Now I'm away to bar for a G&T, ta ta now.

Anonymous said...

Jeezus! One of the best posts I've read from you Manuel, I couldn't agree more.

Every year I take myself off to the Beer Fest at Hilden Brewery (the one Toast was referring to) just outside the City of Lisburn, mainly to hear the music I must add.

I got stuck with a 'Real Ale' drinker for almost an hour last year. Christ, if I had a gun, I would've shot him. Then me. Then him again.

I just wish they would serve something for the non-ale drinkers.
Yes, I just happen to like my bland fizzy cold frothy multinational lager served at low temperatures. Stick your ale up your arse!

Anonymous said...

Jeezus! One of the best posts I've read from you Manuel, I couldn't agree more.

Every year I take myself off to the Beer Fest at Hilden Brewery (the one Toast was referring to) just outside the City of Lisburn, mainly to hear the music I must add.

I got stuck with a 'Real Ale' drinker for almost an hour last year. Christ, if I had a gun, I would've shot him. Then me. Then him again.

I just wish they would serve something for the non-ale drinkers.
Yes, I just happen to like my bland fizzy cold frothy multinational lager served at low temperatures. Stick your ale up your arse!

Anonymous said...

ooops, didn't mean to do that twice. Sorry.

Manuel said...

Niall: you could do with some real ale all the same....put some colour in your cheeks.....

Medbh: Carlsberg is my default beer....when I cant think of anything else..

Ali: funny cos it's true....welcome

Daisyfae: ahahahahaha! brilliant

Gimme: norman!

Toast: If have no problem with Real Ale per se....just real ale drinkers....Hilden Brewery also one out downpatrick direction called Whitewater....they make a beautiful lager called Belfast Blonde....I should also add that Real Ale Drinkers also enjoy long walks up and then down mountains....

Conortje: NEVER!

Sheepo: I must do a bit on them.....saying that we don't serve it

Cheesy: Yeah but everyone in the picture is under 25!

Crispy: Classy!

Dave: Not easy Dave not easy....and where is this fictitious "city" of Lisburn that you speak off? Stuttering now too? hehehehe

Anonymous said...

jesus manuel kick a man i recognised myself in that post y'see - this real ale drinking, non-league football enthusing, hill walking, dog owning, cyclist has just taken ownership of an allotment

jesus mary and st joseph how do i not have a beard


Manuel said...

toast: an allotment.....I wanna an allotment...crying now too....hold me....

Anonymous said...

Hilden Brewery make Belfast Blond and Whitewater make Belfast Ale.

Anonymous said...

Manuel, the City Of Lisburn is just outside Hilden. In fact, did you know that Belfast is part of the greater Lisburn area?

You would've passed it on your way to Dublin. :-)


beer, woo hoo!!!

Old Knudsen said...

A few years back I was in yorkshire in a quaint country pub so I ordered a pint of beer, he said "bitter"? and as I am I said yes. Big mistake, that stuff was minging.

ellie said...

Whatever next, real ale made in Ireland, all that "gorgeous" explosive home brew will go to waste.

Austin Lysaght said...

I was in London at the weekend. Me and my mate Mick went into some pub in Soho and it only seemed to serve 'real ale' on tap.

There was about 20 people in the place and no one was talking.

I asked for a pint of Frotters Old Speckled Piss or something and the barman looked at me and said "you know that this is an ale don't you" in a real smug way and cocked a smile at some fat bastard swilling a pint in the corner.

I said "of course", took the pint off him, downed it in one, said to him "there's no fucking craic in here, come on Mick" went outside and was sick all over the shop.

I think that taught him a lesson.

Anonymous said...

Phew, no chance whatever of me becoming a recognisable real ale drinker. As you know, beer and ale of any description is far too masculine for my androgynous tastes. And likewise, I haven't had a beard for about 35 years. I'm strange though - twitchy, fidgety and talking to myself have been observed. Does that make me in fact one ninth a real ale drinker? Bugger.

h said...

Great post. You clearly gave this some thought. In the USA, there's a Chain Restaurant called " Red Robin". Family style, but they serve beer-and-wine.

Prolly a 100% turnover-rate in a wait-staff where the average age is about 18. Dinner and two beers about 14 bucks.

I once witnessed an Ale "Woman" Ale-Quiz her Server and then demand to speak to the older-and-wiser 19 Year-Old Shift Manager when the Server failed the quiz.

I spit in her $5.95 Meatloaf Special when she distracted herself by screaming into her cell-phone.

Had it been a fine-dining establishment that served more than one Brand of Ale, I might not have done that.

Native Minnow said...

All of my friends are beer snobs. I don't think any of them are "real ale drinkers" though.

Manuel said...

anonymous: pedantry...

Dave: hahahahahaha

voices: my sentiments exactly...

Old K: bwahahahahaha

Ellie: filthy stuff....real ale that is

otfr: Frotters Old Speckled Piss - hahahaha we serve that too

Nick: no buggery does....hehehe

troll: welcome...first time here? I threw it together whilst on the toilet to be honest....hehehehe

Minnow: cut out and aware at all on guard

h said...


Thanks. Actually, I'm a Belfast Resident and have visited your restaurant and blog before but as an indentured servant.

If Old Knudsen appeared to have made witty comments here, that was actually me.

Mudflapgypsy said...

After reading your post Manny I conclude that you were dealing with a PONCE. It mattered not what he was drinking. It could have bottled water.

I love ale. Some of it is truly wonderful -to my palate- and some of it tastes like what I imagaine dishwater to be like.

Sometimes I have a beard, sometimes I carry a plastic bag, usually containing my lunch, sometimes I do both things at the same time.

Asking stupid fucking questions of a waiter about real ale, or wine for that matter actually, no way jose!

Whitewater brewery in Kilkeel make ale, one is called Belfast ale and is pretty damn good IMO.

The beer fest last year yielded some amazing brews and the one akin to dishwater, which was really vile.

I drink for flavour 'cos if it was just to get drunk it would be the cheapest vodka in the shop, and it' ain't.

Always funny to see who starts ranting over an emotive subject.
Me included.

Anonymous said...

To be a lager drinker you have to be called Baz, Dave, Daz, Jez, Jezza, Wayne or Wanker. Oh and you have to have a brain the size of a pea, and preferably drag your knuckles along the ground.

Whorst said...

Yeah, screw real ale. Please send it ALL to the US. Especially Dark Star's Hophead and Crouch Vale Brewers Gold.

Melissa Cole said...

Hi Manuel,
Very entertaining article, well written and with a level of vitriol that I both enjoy and often employ myself.

But, that said, I find it interesting that there's such a double standard from someone in the industry.

Restaurants all over the UK are making a big deal about the provenance of their produce, as well as issues like food miles, so why should querying the source of your beer be any different to asking if you're using seasonal or local food?

After all, it's not like they asked you to sell them a female family member to be their gimp!

And, whilst I completely agree that no waiter should be anyone's bitch, you are in the service industry and, therefore, supposed to deal with this sort of query with good grace and professionalism? By your own admittance they were no bother for the rest of the meal.

If you're ever in London don't hesitate to email me (details on my blog) and I'll be happy to add to your professional skill set with a short course on beer appreciation - although given that you're recommending Carlsberg this shouldn't be too hard, because you're clearly a lager lout with f-all taste...

Oh god! Did I just pigeonhole you by, what your post suggests, you drink? Terrible when that happens isn't it?!

Manuel said...

Melissa: welcome! You have found me on a day when I am absolutely dying with a hangover......oh the irony. 2 bottles of wine if you must know. I rarely drink too! That post, like most, was written after a hard night at work and was meant to be tongue n cheek. I don't drink carlsberg....dirty stuff......and I completely see the double standard.....but wine buffs get the same treatment.....pretentiousness annoys the shit out of me, no matter were it comes from....We actually host a regular meeting for camra members and it has to be said they are a touch odd, likable n that, but a bit odd. Anyways I'm dying here....

Melissa Cole said...

Oh bless you, hangovers always get sympathy from me as they are an occupational hazard (don't think I'll get health cover for them though!)

I'm pleased you took my response as (99%) tongue in cheek too - your blog is superb - the vitriol too fabulous for words - and has a level of commitment I wish I had the inspiration/time to dedicate!

Thanks for popping over to leave a message on mine and I hope the lecture went well.

Manuel said...

Melissa Cole: amusingly enough the event was hasted by Diageo.......the makers of carslberg........hehehehhe

Jothebulb said...

Aah - so a customer asks you about a product you serve, and you couldn't care less about him, or what you are serving? And you really wish he'd shut up and go away and leave you in your comfort zone? May be he should have shown due deference to your position by asking your recommendation, rather than just expecting you to know?

The real story is that you knew that however much time you spent with this guy (and beer bores can be just as bad as wine snobs) your tip on a £2.50 beer just wasn't worth your effort, was it?


Manuel said...

Jo: sweet suffering jesus you ale drinkers are a tetchy lot.....The piece is tongue in cheek...get over it....and the chap and his chums actually tipped me very generously for my service and for the quality of the food and drink I helped them serve......

Anonymous said...

I felt compelled to comment on this as there is little I hate more that an ale snob. My workplace was lucky enough recently to host a CAMRA meeting. More cunts than you could shake a stick at. *sigh*
Thank you for the giggles!

Andrew Smith said...

Amusing stuff, redolent of Viz's Real Ale Twats:

However, as a real-drinker myself I felt I should post in defence of moderate, non-bearded, young(ish) enthusiasts like myself who simply like to support an independent brewer and have a pint that isn't carbonated piss.

True, sometimes you find a badly-kept pint that smells of wet dog, but the risk justs adds to the thrill.

Anyway, give me the beardy extremists any day over those monocultural dead-eyed troglodytes that favour the "Cooking Lagers" - I'm thinking of Carslberg, Fosters and Carling Chav Label, natch.

Anonymous said...

What a nasty piece of writing. Hating people is so unfunny. Happy holocaust day, idiot.

Manuel said...

Cheers Andrew for taking it in the good humour it was written....

Tom: oh dear.....sweet jebus aren't we a little sensitive.....catch a grip

Anonymous said...

Happy "Most Irrelevant Invocation of Godwin's Law You Humourless Twat", Tom!

Nil Zed said...

Oh, my brother is one of these. He collects comic books, and proper books too, come to think of it. He has the beard. He does geocaching too. And model trains. He lives in Washington state, which is really big on micro-breweries and such. I think he homebrews too.

He came to visit me in California. Every restaurant has a wine list in California. It's California, they have an industry to support. However, many only have the usual bottled and draught beers. He was so irked that restaurants didn't have more beer options, becuase, you know, there are many, many types of beer and it's more than possible to provide a selection that can be matched to the course or the dish just as with wine. There are even beers appropriate for the dessert course, did you know that?

Or so he repeated to every server, several managers and any of my friends I'd invited to dinner to meet my him.

B said...

haha brilliant stuff

Tim said...

Some people take beer a little too seriously, but then some waiters are twats.
You were asked the question;

"What are the principal flavours?"

In Future, nick out the back and refer to this. Wine vs Beer@The Beer Diary

And remember, the customer is always right!

Anonymous said...

This attempt at humour is all a bit old hat.

No sensible person can deny that Ale is usually a quality product and to compare it to Carlsberg... well.

Twats are twats, whether they be beer drinkers wine drinkers, trainspotters, rugby fans,boy racers or bloggers. That's no reflection on rugby, cars, wine, beer,trains or bloggers.

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