Tag: Dogs

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Hair of the Dog

Good afternoon, and we’re blogging LIVE from the White Horse in Parson’s Green, where a momentous event is taking place.
Last month, I helped brew a beer up at Kelham Island in Sheffield. It’s a 6% IPA that had a final sparge of hops at the end of the brew. As is always the case, there was the difficult question of what to name the beer. This was resolved when Crown Brewer Stu’s wife, Cat – who works at Kelham Island – contacted the beer widow and suggested the beer be named after out dog, Captain.
And so, a beer was born:
In the photo on the pump clip, the little fella is lying on our rug chewing away at a dried bull’s penis. he loves a bit of dried bull’s penis, does Captain. But he does look like he’s smoking a cigar – entirely befitting of the successful dog about town with a beer named after him.
So, today Captain IPA went on the bar at the White Horse, and Captain wanted to come down and check it out. Here is is on the bar, next to his beer:
He’s not that interested in trying the beer, which is a shame – that hop sparge hasn’t necessarily given it a stronger hop flavour, but it’s given it a much more rounded hop flavour – the usual citrus and resin is fleshed out with a much sweeter, fuller hop character that blends perfectly into the malt. It’s a winner!
Captain has also been sighted at this weekend’s Kelham Island Beer Festival and at various pubs around the country, including some Wetherspoons. There are two nines of it down here at the White Horse – not sure how much of it we’ll get through this afternoon but please do try and check it out! It’ll make Captain’s afternoon.

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Polls and priorities

Bless you, you’re a liberal minded lot.

My poll on kids and dogs in pubs closed yesterday and the results are as follows. Based on 181 votes, would you:
Allow both kids and dogs in pubs? 38%
Allow kids bit not dogs? 6%
Allow dogs but not kids? 41%
Ban both dogs and kids? 14%
So 44% of you think kids should be allowed in pubs; and 79% of you think dogs should be allowed in pubs. The canines have it – Captain and The Beer Widow will be pleased.
I’ve actually changed my own position after some of the thoughtful arguments people have made and would now say that both should be allowed – it depends on the owner/handler, and tighter regulation should be enforced when either behave badly.
Now on to the next poll – one you may think is a bit sarcastic – I hope you think it’s rhetorical. After a week of unprecedented hostility from parliament, the health profession and the neo-prohibitionists, there has so far been very little reaction from the beer industry to the Parliamentary Select Committee Report on alcohol. Professor Poontang asked on my last blog post where CAMRA are in all this – as Curmudgeon replied, they’re seemingly too busy taking legal action over the issue of the beer tie. They’re quite possibly also busy writing their own manifesto for pubs, even though the BBPA have just written one.
And I’ve not had a single press release with reaction from any brewer, or seen any other industry comment. The BBPA sent me an excellent press release rebutting some key points, and that’s all the reaction I’ve seen.
I believe that 2010 is the year the industry must stop fighting and work together to counter the social demonisation of alcohol. But do you agree? Let me know in the new poll, right here—->

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Pubs and who they let in – a quick poll

Happy New Year!

Had a very pleasant New Year’s Day in The Spaniards, Hampstead – the pub I discovered in September at the Flying Dog event, and subsequently named in The Guardian as my perfect Boxing Day pub (which it subsequently was – we had a fantastic meal, great Christmas beers, and Richard and Judy were in there, with Judy wearing a huge pair of sunglasses, and even putting on reading glasses over the top of them to read the menu).

So we went back, and got there early to get a table, and enjoyed a very fine afternoon.
The sheer demand for tables meant there was a deal of tension in the air, with people repeatedly asking us how long we were going to be and attempting to nick a chair every time someone went to the loo.
But what made it really irritating was the constant screaming of bored kids, and the fact that a woman behind me repeatedly rammed my chair with a pushchair containing a fractious baby.
Now, I don’t have children – but I do have a dog. And one of the Spaniard’s many, many qualities in my eyes is that it’s the most dog-friendly pub I’ve ever been to. So I have a big personal bias: I regard a pub as being a bit stuck-up if they don’t allow dogs in – especially those who claim it’s against health and safety regulations or even against the law, which it just isn’t – it’s your decision who and what you let in your own pub and I respect that, but don’t lie to me – just have the balls to say you don’t want dogs in.
But I get irritated by kids in pubs. Or more accurately, by the parents of kids in pubs: parents who think it’s OK to wheel in a double-width push chair and leave it in the aisle. Parents who ignore their children and let them run around screaming, and smile at you when the kid runs past your table and spills your drink as if to say “Aren’t they adorable?” No, they’re really irritating. And parents who keep kids in the pub long after their bedtime, so they get grizzly and fractious – not fair on the kids, nor the rest of us. Living in a borough with a very high concentration of young kids, the joy of the pub is in part for me that it is an adult environment. That it should feel like a kindergarten is just wrong.
So my perfect pub would allow dogs, and ban kids.
But Orwell argued that kids should be allowed in pubs because pubs should be wholesome, universal centres of the community, and banning kids helps turn them into male-only drinking dens – his experience of such places was that if the bloke is in the pub, the woman has to stay at home looking after the kids. I see his point, and would agree with his view were it not for personal experience.
And anyone who saw Captain pissing territorially on the 17th century pillar in the front bar of the Spaniard’s yesterday would be well within their rights to argue that dogs are unhygienic and should be barred from any eating and drinking space. (He doesn’t normally do it, but there were lots of other dogs around, and some were cuter than him, which he hates. It makes him feel insecure.)
So am I just swayed by my personal circumstances?
Should the ideal pub bar children, dogs, or both? Or should it be as inclusive as possible and allow both?
I’ve set up a little poll over there—-> and would love to hear your views. If you leave a comment about this, please say if you have kids and/or dogs of your own, so we can see if our own situation dictates our views.