On my first evening working at IndyManBeerCon I was working on receiving the guests at the door. A call came through to see if anyone could be spared to work on the increasingly busy bar of the Northern Monk Brewery from Leeds in Yorkshire. When I was in university I had a job working in a pub behind the bar. I got quite good at it and learned how to pull a perfect pint of Guinness with exactly the right proportion of creamy white top to black stout beer below (did you know that Guinness isn’t actually black, it’s a very, very dark red beer). I didn’t perfect the shamrock on the top even though I am of Irish descent.

Northern Monk had an entire tent to themselves beyond the food village. When I arrived it was already busy. I met Billy (grey T in the pictures), one of the craftsmen brewers, who lovingly talked me through the beers and ales on offer and showed me how to pull them. After a few mistakes I got into the groove and all that muscle memory from nights behind the bar in the Friendship Inn came true.

At the beginning of the evening there was a lot of ‘beer tasting’. People swirled the beer in their glasses, inhaled the aroma, swashed it about the various parts of their mouths so they could assess the ‘feel’ and the ‘depth’ of the taste. Appreciative noises were made and comparisons with beers drunk at other times and at other events. All rather like a wine tasting. The difference between the two events was that, while the wine may have been spat out, the beer most definitely wasn’t! 

The beer was sold in one third of a pint measures so three glasses equated to a pint in a normal pub. Problems might have arisen because the beers on offer can be, and were, a lot stronger than the mass produced beers that can be bought anywhere. And people were on a mission to try a lot of them. Only the number of tokens you could afford limited you. I saw no one getting drunk and the security people said it was a good event to do from their perspective because everyone was out to have a good time and were so chilled. 

However, as the evening went on there was less appreciation of the beers and more of the how much can I drink attitude. For example…

Young Lady to me: Give me a glass of your favourite beer and then I’ll have another of your second favourite one!

But my favourite interchange of the evening came courtesy of a young, Australian guy…

Aussie Guy: (possibly having had one more than was good for him) What have you got that’s most like an Aussie lager?

Me: (looking along the beers on offer from Northern Monk and finding nothing remotely like an Aussie lager but spotting Billy not busy for a moment) Billy, this chap wants something that’s most like an Aussie lager. What do you suggest?

Billy: (looking Aussie guy up and down with barely concealed distaste) Well I can offer you some piss in a glass!

Aussie Guy wasn’t put off so I chose him a glass of an India Pale Ale flavoured with Passionfruit.

Me: Try that. In some pubs in Sydney that’s considered a cocktail. 

 

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