So Much Beer, So Little Time…

I was in London on Saturday for the South East regional heat of the Sainsbury’s Great British Beer Hunt 2012, I’ll be doing a full blog post about it soon. I managed to visit some pubs, both before and after, one of which was The Craft Beer Company, on Leather Lane. While I was there, I couldn’t help but think about Boak and Bailey’s recent blog post The Agony of Choice:

A place like the Craft Beer Company, unless you can visit it everyday, and have the funds to support such a habit, can actually be a little depressing. Even if we drink ourselves under the table, we’ll still leave wondering about the beers we didn’t try, the half that never was.

I’ve said before that I like choice and variety, which is one of the reasons that I hardly ever drink the same beer twice in a session. I also hate missing out on things, it’s one of the drivers of my obsessional behaviour and has lead to me getting into all sorts of trouble. I’m sure you can imagine that somewhere like The Craft Beer Co. is both an ideal venue and the worst nightmare for someone with these traits.

It’s the ideal venue due to the sixteen hand pumps, twenty one keg lines and over three hundred bottles. The choice is so staggering, you could easily drink all day for days without having to drink the same beer twice. At the same time, this staggering level of choice is my worst nightmare, especially when I’m on a time limited fleeting visit.

How am I supposed to choose which beers to drink, when at first glance there are at least seven cask beers I’m going wide eyed at? How can I not feel anything other than a bit of drression that I have neither the time nor money to try all the cask beers I’d like to, let alone any of the keg or bottled beers. To be honest, I stood upstairs with my phone plugged into a wall socket and felt pretty miserable, I didn’t even look at what was on the keg fonts as I walked past.

I know that I was tired from trying all the beers at the Great British Beer Hunt, both physically and mentally and as a result I didn’t really fancy having much beer after wards. But I can’t really remember feeling that despondent in a pub for a long time, as I had to chose between beers that I’ve never had and likely wont see again, potentially ever.

I know that quite a lot of the problem is in my own head, not letting my obsessions get the better of me is hard work. I’m sure plenty of people go through pubs like Craft, Cask or the Euston Tap and they have what they have and move on without much of a second thought. I’m with Boak and Bailey though, the last few times I’ve been to these pubs, I’ve left wondering about the halves that never were and wishing that their beer selection wasn’t quite so stellar.

5 Replies to “So Much Beer, So Little Time…”

  1. I would rather have the agony of choosing a couple of halves from such an outstanding and varied selection of beers, knowing I’ll never try the others, than have to choose from 8 pumps all containing generic four point something brown beer. Variety is too often just a choice between shade of brown – in summer from amber to brown and in winter from brown to black. In some cases it’s a choice of brands, all royally produced by the same colourful brewery. I appreciate seeing a wider choice of strengths and styles, including German, Belgian, American and more. Unfortunately, I fear that us Brits are too safe, we know what we like and most people like weak brown water. They don’t know any better. Pubs need to educate their customers – if you like X try Y kinda stuff.

  2. I hope you weren’t quite as despondent as I was last weekend when I accompanied a group of friends to a generic Greene King pub – their choice of venue. There are good GK pubs, but this one had three handpumps on, all brown, none particularly good.

    I left feeling that I had wasted calories and alcohol on something I hadn’t particularly enjoyed. Life’s too short to drink bad beer, so right then I would have embraced the agony of choice.

  3. Was thinking about this a bit more: what’s great is a place like the Dove where you’ve tried everything *before*. Huge range, but only a few things that are new… choice, without the stress.

  4. Having had a bit of time to think about it, I think I might know what kind of pub would be my ideal. It will take more than a comment though, so look out for a blog post soon.

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