“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Memories Are Made Of... Beer

Tonight I took a trip back in time, all because of a bargain. Earlier today I ventured into the hated halls of Tesco, in order to purchase some household essentials - bread and the like. As is my wont, being as I am a born bargain hunter, I ventured toward the reduced-price section to see if there were any stellar offers I could not live without.

As it happened, there were. Among the few beverages (which usually get reduced because a can is missing from a 4-pack, or similar) was a box of Tesco's own brand of French lager, Bière Spéciale. They usually come 8 to a box and there were only six. No biggie. The reduced price was unbelievable. £1.22. You read that right. One pound and twenty two pee, for six bottles of beer. That, for my American friends, is about $1.90. And this is not weak beer either. It's 4.8% alc/vol. So I purchased said item.

Later, after dinner, I decided a cold beer might be just the ticket. So I cracked one open and drank thereof. Instantly I was transported, back to 1982.

Back in 1982, as I believe I may have mentioned before, I was in a dreadful rock n roll combo known as The Grass. One sunny summer afternoon we were rehearsing our 'set' and the day being terribly warm we hit upon the idea of rehearsing outside. We were at the house of my friend and our lead singer/guitarist Alastair, and in the back garden was a large caravan which was set up permanently as a spare bedroom-type affair. Trouble with rehearsing outside in the searing weather, other than the guitars constantly going out of tune, was that we were in need of liquid refreshment quite a bit of the time. (I promise I'll get to the point soon).

As it happened, there was a large quantity of a lovely French lager called '33' lying about, as someone in Alastair's family had recently been on a day trip to France and procured vast quantities of cheap liquor, which was the thing to do in the 70s and 80s. So we were all standing about and drinking this fine beverage to refresh our parched throats and other parts of our hormone-enraged teenage bodies. Here's some pictorial proof in the shape of our bass player Nigel...

Anyway, back to this evening and the Tesco beer. As I downed this amber liquid the flavour was so reminiscent of '33' that it triggered all these lovely memories of that sunny afternoon, playing shabby rock and roll and annoying the neighbours in between a caravan and an empty swimming pool, guitars sounding like shit and generally having a ball.

So thank you, hated Tesco, for at least doing one thing that I like. And if you happen to shop in Tesco, and you need some good beer, but money's too tight to mention, try Bière Spéciale. It won't break the bank and it might just send you on a trip down memory lane to those heady days of cross-channel ferry trips to the Calais hypermarché.

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