The results of the Bombardier / Oxford Brookes beer writing competition were announced nearly a month ago now and have been covered in various places, notably on the sponsor’s page. I thought I would leave others to cover the winner’s piece. Until yesterday, and hearing first hand Pete Brown’s account at the Beer Bloggers Conference of the judges’ attempts at trying to get a national newspaper to print the short story.
The general reaction he met was that the story was great, and truly interesting, yet the publication had a policy of not writing about beer within their food & drink supplements. Quite staggering really, given that beer is the UK’s favourite drink, and is such a huge part of our culture.
Well if they are not going to publish then it is down to the internet to print what the mainstream won’t (or can’t!) – and hopefully get the message out to the public.
So, below is the start of the winning tale, written by Milton Crawford, author of the intriguing Hungover Cookbook, available to purchase here. Congratulations to Milton and well done to all those that entered the competition. It’s great to see so much passion for beer and the part it plays in people’s lives.
‘You’re drinking that like water,’ I said with a laugh as I stood at the bar and watched my friend George glug the top half of his deep auburn pint in one indulgent guzzle. A shaft of low sunlight caught his glass as it reached the horizontal in front of his mouth. There was a flash of red and gold. I watched his throat work hard, swallowing the liquid in rhythmical gulps, before he placed his glass down on the bar with emphasis and gave a long gasp of satisfaction. The liquid in the glass slopped about slightly like a gentle swell in the English Channel on a serene summer’s day.
‘It’s funny you should say that,’ he said, once he had sucked some air into his lungs. ‘A friend of mine was remarking just the other day how in medieval times every man in this country drank beer instead of water because the water could not be trusted. I knew that already, in fact, but what surprised me was the amount that they drank.’
He wiped the back of his hand across his brow and swept his long blonde ringlets from his forehead. His hair was damp and darkened around his temples as he tucked the dry ringlets behind his ears. It was the first really warm day of the year and as the sun dipped and cast long shadows across the stone-flagged floor, and the air outside began to cool slightly, it remained warm and sticky inside our village pub. There was a hum of conversation from around the low-ceilinged room and the cries of playing children and barking dogs shimmered in on the warm air. George placed his large, rough hands on the edge of the bar and leaned his weight slightly against them as though he was trying to move the bar backwards an inch or two. He was a stonemason with powerful arms and shoulders and I believed that if he tried he probably could move the bar if he really wanted to. The landlord – a tall, slim fellow with a long neck and glasses – leaned his right forearm on top of the pumps and listened. George liked to tell a story.
To read the rest, please click here
Beer Genie Dave