In their usual inimitable way, the Star has headlined their article “Let’s have it off for Saint George!”  This headline is unusual for the Daily Star only because the apostrophe is in the correct place.

For many years, Saint George’s Day has been the unofficial national day of England but celebrations are usually low-key.  It is often unkindly (but not unfairly) derided as “Saint Patrick’s Day Lite.”  That may be gradually changing after no less than the legendary Sir Beefy “Ian” Botham waded into the debate and presented a huge petition to Parliament in support of old George.

As a historical figure, Saint George himself was a mixed bag.  His origins and story are disputed though most people agree the dragon he slew was metaphorical rather than real. He is the patron saint of archers (cool) [2] and of scouts (slightly worrying).  When he was finally slain in battle, his body was apparently cut into 365 bits by his enemies indicating that things may have gotten a little personal out there.

Other fascinating George-related newsbites include the statistically spooky fact that William Shakespeare was born on Saint George’s Day 1564 and died on Saint George’s Day 1616.

 Even more ironically, England and Manchester United footballer and television mime Wayne Rooney has a Saint George’s flag tattooed on his arm.  Sadly, he still can’t read it. This one paragraph just went from literature to illiteracy in two sentences.

On the topic of literary geniuses, I recently re-read the “A-Z of Behaving Badly” allegedly by the two chaps from Men Behaving Badly by actually written by two chaps called Simon [3] and Paul. Gary and Tony were totally Charlie Sheen if Mr Winning Tiger Blood had to appear on the BBC in the nineties.  Anyway, their comments on Lager Brands are still apt today:

“Pick a brand of lager at random, stick with it and champion it with complete, unrelenting, blind devotion.  Claim automatically that all other brands taste like they’ve been strained through a Bolivian tobacco worker’s pants.  If anyone criticises your chosen brew you have to ask them to step outside as, basically, this is as serious as being accused of cheating at poker or enjoying the company of your parents.  This means unfortunately that you have to defend your brand’s TV advert, even if you think it’s a load of old unfunny toss fronted by an utter f**k-wit.”

They also have some observations on Real Ale [4] and Surreal Ale [5].

Despite its overt Celtic sympathies and loyalties, Malthouse has been a long-term supporter of the Saint George’s Day and this year will be no exception.  Doors will be open on Saturday from noon to midnight with three Fuller’s ales (not lagers) on tap.

Fuller, Smith and Turner has been brewing since 1845 and, since the departure of Young’s, is now London’s only remaining traditional family brewery.  Their flagship beer is Fuller’s London Pride – a rounded, mellow premium ale which is now being promoted by Top Gear’s own Captain Slow, James May.  Malthouse also has Fuller’s ESB, a tasty, spicy Extra Special Bitter which has won a slew of awards. 

The smooth, rich and strong Fuller’s Porter will also be pouring for (I think) the first time.  Esteemed beergeekery site RateBeer Dot Com has this as the second best porter in the entire world.  For the record – you cannot get what they consider the best porter in theworld in this country.

On the topic of major English events, a terrifying number of people appear to be genuinely looking forward to the Royal Wedding of Prince William (solider, no fixed abode) and Catherine “Kate” Middleton (very rich commoner, Brixton) who may well be twelfth cousins, once removed.

Malthouse currently has no plans to screen the event (29 April) but may do so if it is requested enough.  The Handsome Yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor Colin has indicated informally that his preference is to show his new Wiggles DVD which I am contractually obliged to say he only bought for his daughter and that he doesn’t stay up all night dancing away to “Dorothy the Dinosaur.” [6]

It is no secret that this is Easter weekend and ANZAC Day all rolled up into one.  Malthouse will open at the normal time on Thursday and close at midnight.  It will be closed on Friday but open on Saturday from noon to midnight.  Closed again on Sunday and open on Monday from 1pm with no surcharge.

[1] In last year’s Saint George’s Day post here I correctly picked the winner of the British election.
[2] Including Robin Hood, Neroli Fairhall and Lord Jeffrey Archer.
[3] He actually wrote the entire series so it is not quite as bad as it looks.
[4] “Real Ale – avoid this at all costs.  One sip and you turn into someone who looks and talks like a geography teacher.”
[5] “Surreal Ale – More awful rubbish, with the added drawbacks of burning giraffes, fish and melting watches.”
[6] This may be the last blog for a while.


Neil Miller
Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine

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