...Some folks of cyder make a rout,
And cyder's well enough, no doubt,
When better liquors fail;
But wine, that's richer, better still,
Ev'n wine itself (deny't who will)
Must yield to nappy ale.
Rum, brandy, gin with choicest smack
From Holland brought, Batavia arrack,
All these will nought avail
To cheer a truly British heart,
And lively spirits to impart,
Like humming, nappy ale...
(from John Gay's Ballad on Ale)
I wasn't going to mention St George's Day, but here's some good saint-related stuff from my part of the world, and the local paper's account leads me to i) politics: I think there should be an Oust the Roman Tribune t-shirt, or perhaps anorak is more like it; and ii) beer. At a quick glance, Greene King's last brew of St Edmund ale, which I remember very clearly (bumbling barman dropped our tray of Abbot-and-St Edmunds bang on last orders and then refused to replace it with anything but the cheapest bitter in the house), hasn't made much impact on the web, though it gets an occasional good note. Anyway, if all this little-Englanding about Saint Edmund (follow the link, read the legend) leads to the beer's being re-introduced, that's no bad thing. Even renowned wine critic Steven Spurrier is coming round to the virtues of humming, nappy ale: his column in this month's Decanter ends "Soon there will be beer sommeliers". Is nothing sacred?