(The delightful Jo Theakston from Black Sheep and I pondered what life would be like if a bomb fell on the venue: we'd all have to be drinking Guinness.)
But have no fear- the gravitas of the report wasn't wasted on me. Sitting next to Marverline Cole (aka Beer Beauty, who I want to be my new best friend) I contemplated the lack of real ale in the O2 despite it being the biggest entertainment venue in Europe and the fact that I met a woman the other day who refused to accept a free sample of real ale, saying 'I don't drink bitter.' She was drinking John Smiths.
I sincerely agree with Maestro Brown (Pete, by the way, not Gordon/ Bobbi/ Derren) that educating folks about Cask Beer is key to its continued growth. People don't hate the stuff, they just don't always consider it worth a try or understand why it’s such a special drink.
Which is why I was delighted to see exactly that education going on in one of my local Wetherspoons (oh yes, I'm lucky enough to have two within ten minutes walk from my gaff.)
This is a pub that could reap the benefits from ale educating; not lectures, nothing forceful, but friendly, free exposure to real ale’s delights. The pub itself does well with ale- they have regularly changing guests from an exciting range of microbreweries. They organise brewery tours and advertise ale events on behalf of others. So some people here must drink it. I just seem to always be at the bar next to the person who is ordering Tuborg and yet more John Smiths. It’s not a particularly glamourous area, lots of punters come to the pub alone and its really not the most stylish or inspiring of joints.
So, on a miserable Wednesday evening, in the midst of a power shower level downpour, just what everyone needed was a bit of a freebie and some friendly banter. It came in the form of a meet the brewer evening with a lovely chap from Hogsback and some dapper gents from