It's time to finally admit. I don't go the pub very much anymore. I think I was sort of trying to make this point in a previous post, but it warrants a more explicit airing.
Much respected colleagues in the Birmingham Beer Twitterari have recently revisited a much noted point - that Birmingham still doesn't have a City Centre pub, which can consistently deliver, on tap, one or more hoppy, high quality beers. Various location have their moments, but equally there have been many (boringly retold) occasions when I have ducked in and out of several boozers, during an attempted 'stolen crawl' only to find nothing to take my fancy.
This is one part of the problem. Now this part may be fixed by the arrival of Brewdog, in fact I'm sure it will. However, that will not correct part 2 of the problem, which is fiscal in nature, and could perhaps be described as 'quantitive diseasing' i.e. large corporations liberally pumping funds out of my bank account.
Brewdog won't be cheap, but then again, nowhere is that cheap anymore (except for the Black Country).
So shorn of my once frequent pub loitering, I have now moved fully to an off-licence driven pursuit of great beer. Off licence addiction is now easier than ever to 'get into', as Birmingham now provides any number of places to grab some Eastern European lager, plus two premier destinations for all the very best beer brands - both located along the Pershore Road (Stirchley Wines and Cotteridge Wines). Off licence shopping is clean, easy and oh so tempting; but it does lead to single-handed drinking, for [I am perhaps glad to report] my house is not usually filled with garrulous blokes standing at the bar necking boozes.
Yes, I now mainly drink alone, which simultaneously means I don't drink as much. This is good for health reasons obviously, but it does lead to a stockpile in my beer cupboard. Why is this? Well during a proper session in the pub, I might manage to sample 4 or 5 different beers in an evening, but I'm unlikely to do this at home, as sitting on my sofa, watching Family Guy and getting mullered on fine beer is not exactly the height of spiritual rebirth and doesn't provide the most wholesome example to set for one's offspring.
So then, what I have right now, is a cupboard full of beer, and ever more chances, to purchase ever more delicious beers, from some of Birmingham's ever more brilliant off licences. Good for the City, meh for my wallet, and confusing for my hectored brain. How can I keep up?
In the long run, will it truly be possible to be the poster boy of Birmingham's craft beer revolution from my sofa? Only time will tell, but it will require some ingenuity.
This post is dedicated to the_Bish - one of Birmingham's premier Ratebeer and Twitter correspondents.