Every time you drink it you’re punching your 18-year-old self in the face

We live in an uncertain world. In Ukraine, Putin’s ghost armies creep westwards. Islamic State regularly churns out snuff movies with production values to put Hollywood to shame. Deadly viruses like Ebola develop, erupt and then disappear. And every other celebrity you grew up watching on the television is an unrepentant sex offender.

When you take some time to actually think away from all this terrible excitement and distraction you find yourself feeling quite lost. It’s a world where nothing is true and anything is possible.

It’s a world where, on occasion, you’d like to just sit down with your mates and have a pint and not think too much about anything at all.

Which brings us to Bristol where there used to be a pub called The Hill. It wasn’t perfect but if you wanted to walk in there, drink five pints of Becks and abuse moving images of Joey Barton a little bit too loudly, you could.

Recently The Hill became the Brewhouse & Kitchen. And that was when I realised the quiet pint I mentioned earlier, the one you have with your mates, is under threat.

Welcome to hell

Welcome to hell

Inside the Brewhouse it’s a steampunk mess, a poorly designed TARDIS interior: menacing copper vats in the corner, light bulbs in jam jars hanging randomly from the ceiling, the kind of black and white tiling you’d expect to see in a Victorian sanatorium.

This is probably where they keep all the bodies

This is probably where they keep all the bodies

At the bar (yes, there’s still a bar in a place like this) there’s not a single beer you’ve ever heard of. You don’t need to drink these craft beers to know how evil they are. Simply read the names off the taps: Papa Darth, Hannover Cure, Ribeera, Charlatan.

Eh?

Eh?

On their slick, smug website, one of the Brewhouse team promises something more than the usual pub and beer experience.

They say: “In the last few years when I looked to go to a traditional pub there were very few I wanted to go to, so I wanted to build something interesting that people like me would want to go to.

“At B&K we share a passion for hospitality that’s infectious and we use this to give each of our customers an enjoyable experience.”

They won’t let you have a beer anymore. It has to be an experience. An experience that will set you back upwards of £6 a pint.

The craft beers and real ales served by places like Brewhouse are part of a fuck-classic-lager bandwagon rolling up and down the country. There is a widely-held belief out there that they’re more authentic than other beers and somehow more independent. To drink a bottle of Brooklyn Lager reinforces your own claims to authenticity and independent mindedness.

The author with his craft beer

Me and my craft beer

But look at the Brewhouse. It’s hardly independent or authentic. It’s part of a chain of pubs, with other Brewhouses in places like Dorchester, Highbury and Gloucester Quays. And who could honestly say they’d be opposed to the bulldozers eradicating these Keep Calm and Carry On heartlands of twee middle England?

Even your local Spoons is trying to pour craft beer down your throat. Spoons isn’t just two jägerbombs for a fiver and a few jugs of that weird blue shit anymore. It’s also a place to sup a Devil’s Backbone or knock back a few cans of Sweet Action.

Craft beer is an unstoppable juggernaut. It’s booming popularity has seen it added along with e-cigarettes to the basket of goods used to calculate the rate of inflation. It’s part of the furniture now. One in five British adults has drunk craft beer in the last six months. Who are these people and why are they ruining everything?

A good fifty percent of the crowd in a place like Brewhouse will remind you of Jeremy Clarkson. They wear bad flared jeans or three-quarter length shorts with fleeces all year round. They have sunglasses on. They’re slagging off Ed Miliband loudly in the beer garden and you suspect they haven’t seen their children since they got caught banging the au pair.

They're not going to stop until you're drink what they're drinking

They’re not going to stop until you’re drink what they’re drinking

The younger ones, men and women over the age of thirty-five who’ve managed to escape the crushing debts and live-with-your-parents-forever fate of our generation sit there thinking if they’ve paid this much money for a pint of beer then they must be real grown-ups now.

But none of these people remember the first time they got wasted on Ribeera or Papa Darth. Nobody does.

This is how you used to drink

This is how you used to drink

What you can remember, before your first love, before your first heartbreak and before your first pill was buying a crate of Stella from Tesco Metro. Or a crate of Kronenbourg. Or Fosters. Or Carlsberg.

Stella's on point

Stella’s on point

Before Putin, ISIS and craft beer, you were young and free and stupid, without foresight or hindsight. You simply wanted to get as pissed as possible as quickly as possible and you didn’t care where or who you had to throw up on to get there.

One too many San Miguels

One too many San Miguels

I’m not saying these aren’t terrible drinks. In fact they’re absolutely awful: filtered, pasteurised, artificially fizzy. But however shit they may be, they’re ours, they’re how we grew up, they’re how we threw up.

When the chin resting on fist pose was a viable option

When the chin resting on fist pose was a viable option

Every sip of craft beer takes you further away from this innocence, from the person who you used to be and further along the road to the twat you’ll end up as: a guy who uses the word “chillax” unironically, who wears a beard and a beanie. A sod who prides himself on drinking a slightly better tasting beer.

@Will_Lloyd_

  • bob

    because york and bath councils are funded by huge taxes from local wealth, whereas county durham is an area of immense poverty…

  • Comment

    Anyone who thinks that this is a money issue has no idea what they’re talking about. The council gave u00a350,000 to the student union to promote safe drinking. What on earth is this page going to do? She not only has no permission to build on public land, but no idea what to build. nnnIt’s an image thing. The last thing the student image needs at the moment is for a student’s mother who has no knowledge of the area to be throwing money at it on our behalf. It fits every stereotype we’ve been stuck with and that is why students will not support this on any sort of significant scale. So out of touch.

  • Some randomer

    this was really well written and absolutely on point. I do like Brooklyn though…

  • old fogey

    Nothing wrong with cheap real ale though

  • Reubeniv

    I’ve just spent a year in London and learned to love craft beer. My advice to anyone intimidated by the choice is to experiment, take 5 minutes to learn about the different types of beers, to know your hoppy IPAs from your malty porters, etc if it helps. You can always head to a cheaper pub after if getting pissed is your priority.

    As for beers that are ‘our own’, would you really call Fosters, Carlesberg, Kronenberg, or Stella, even Carling, owned by Coors ‘ours’? And if you’re in the pub for ‘a quiet one’, would you not want that ‘one’ to taste actually nice?

    Embrace the choice and support independent and local brewers by choosing craft beer :)