A bitter man am I

I’ll be in Oxford the second week in August, participating in one of those old-folks summer courses, at Merton College, and I expect to learn a bit about British art and archetecture of the late 18th Century, meet some interesting people, and have an altogether glorious time.

We’ve got a reading list for the course, naturally, but in truth, the volume I’ll be studying most is The Good Beer Guide, because what I’m looking forward to more than anything else is good English beer.

Over the last few decades, there has been a flourishing of micro-breweries here in the States, and they almost always offer “English style” brews, but they usually turn out to be over-hopped light ales served too cold. They’re especially enamored, for some reason, of (over-hopped) India Pale Ale (served too cold). Sometimes there’s an ESB—Extra Special Bitter—which is, you guessed it, over-hopped and served too cold.

I don’t want an IPA, or an ESB, or a “Best,” or, God forbid, a Bud. I just want a comfortable seat in a pub that keeps good beer well, and a pint of ordinary Bitter—not over-hopped and not served too cold. “A pint” is, of course, a term of art. I’m sure teacher will be proud.


A bitter man am I — 4 Comments

  1. Ah – A visit from our colonial cousin! will you have time to be entertained? I am only a hop and a skip from the dreaming spires.

    Drop me a line to let me know? I could rustle up Lord Elpus and a few other of your fans to educate you in the ways of proper beer (don't listen to the northerners – they have frothy heads up north)

  2. Hi, Mark! Have enjoyed reading your comments on our trip and like that you went AWOL from the lectures in order to SEE things. I agree with your assessment of the need to balance free time with learning time–seeing IS learning.

    Pat and I are not experts, but I thought that we would share what we sampled in the pubs about town:
    Chiswick at The Bear
    Cumberland at the Eagle & Child
    Old Hooky at the White Horse
    London Pride, various places

    But I think our favorite turned out to be the Oxford Gold that we had at Merton. Can we get it over here?

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