Monday, February 14, 2005

Into the valley of the Ultra Lagers

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As a nice semi-synchronistic touch, shortly after making reference to Single Can of Lager Man in an earlier post I came across the following line in another blog …
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"it's strange ... ... that the favourite drink of homeless people is called Tenants..."
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A good line, which was already borrowed from another blog by the time I read it.
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It's been borrowed twice now.
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Ever since I can remember, the Get Pissed Cheap market has been dominated by the Twin Titans - Carlsberg Special Brew ('Special Brew') and Tennent's Super ('T Super'). Other brands have tried to muscle in on the action, I recall something called Kestrel Super briefly flitting onto the market but it didn’t have a snowball in Hell's chance of dislodging the Classics.
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Both brands are favoured by Single Can of Lager Man who appreciates them both for their unparalleled cost-effectiveness and impressive intoxication:volume ratio. Why take four cans into the local park when one will do?
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More background info on the hard fought Super-Lager market can be found at these incredibly excellent sites
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For any non-UK readers not familiar with the cult of the Superstrong Lager, we are basically talking canned lager formulated to push the technical envelope of what can legitimately described as beer. Imagine the intoxicating beverage equivalent of Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in the Bell X1 in 1947 and you get the gist. Human endeavour and the quest for The Ultimate have many manifestations. Some men strive for speed. Other, no less talented individuals, strive for getting as pissed as possible below a recommended retail unit price of £1.
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Tennent's Super is sweeter than Special Brew which tastes pretty much like a liquefied fart, particularly at near room temperatures. Obviously Special Brew is not really liquefied fermented fart juice; if it was it would become gas at body temperatures. It doesn’t do that, it just tastes worse than when it's cold. I presume that Carlsberg have just somehow managed to find a way to capture the very essence of the true fart taste without resorting to super-cooling or high-pressure containment.
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Special Brew does, however, make excellent snakebites, particularly when combined with scrumpy cider. Mixed with right brands of cider, I recommend Long Ashton, it actually forms a thick analgesic gel that can be used in surgical procedures. Adding a shot of blackcurrant cordial after the gellification process is complete creates a pleasing marbled effect to the final beverage that means that you can usually get away without using a cocktail umbrella.
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Hovering around the 9% alcohol by volume mark these beers are, to all intents and purposes, wine. The only difference being that they are fizzy, taste foul and are administered in chunky 500cc doses. Also, I'm no biochemist but I have no doubt that these beers include additional toxins and alcohol groups not present in other drinks. After necking a couple of cans you find yourself feeling as if you've been poisoned as well as being intoxicated. It's normally advisable to vomit at some point later in the evening.
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Public consumption of these beverages says one of two things about the consumer:
  • I am a tramp
  • I am very serious about getting pissed
The colossal number of discarded, empty cans of Tennents and Carlsberg, sporting their distinctive purple and gold livery, blanketing the streets of British cities, suggests that an awfully large number of people fit into these two categories.
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I still fondly recall my first ever field trip with my old geology department. A group of us fresh, young first years had taken daypacks filled with notebooks, field guides, rock hammers and clinometers in the minibus with us on the trip to Dorset. A group of accompanying second and third year students paternally emptied our rucksacks into a box at the back of the bus, explained that weight was a critical factor and that no superfluous items could be permitted. They then issued us with standard-issue Birmingham University Geology Department bastard-strength lager instead. Our first morning was spent, clambering around seaweed covered rocks near Lulworth Cove, severely hungover, lead by a group of second years sipping warm cans of Tennents Super. That was twenty years ago and I am still awed by the memory. Look! I am drinking T Super for breakfast. How hard am I you wankers!'. The myth of T Super has real power.
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Sadly, most of those second and third years graduated and took up jobs as sales reps for confectionery companies or became trainee accountants. Several appeared in suits in corporate recruitment brochures whilst we were still students; so the myth is tarnished a little.
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4 comments:

Smacked Face said...

My favourite super-alcohol-related story is the warning on bottles of Buckfast "tonic wine" (revolting aggression-causing concoction favoured by hobos north of the border, for those not in the know): 'The term "tonic wine" does not indicate medicinal or health-giving properties.' No kidding.

Stef said...

Absolutely capital.

Haven't come across that one before.

I shall call my wine merchant and order a gross tomorrow ...

Northun Munki in Oxford Circus said...

Ock, I ken Buckies from my days in Dundee...

Incidentally in Burnley there is a strange craze for 'Bene' (Benedictine) brewed by Benedictine monks!

The best thing I've found so far about alcohol is that unlike other consumable goods - they don't have to list the ingredients - Sodium Metabisulphate, Potassium Sorbate, Amalayse anyone?

Stef said...

Buckies? Buckies?

What is this Buckies / Buckfast stuff?

I remember the days when I had first hand experience of every alcoholic beverage available

God, I feel old.

Thinking back to my O Level chemistry days isn't amalayse a digestive enzyme? Does that mean the beer eats YOU while you're drinking IT?

Now that's a weird thought