I can't help thinking that - if I lived outside London - that I'd spend more time in the pub than I do. I do more 'straight-after-work' boozing than I should do. But once I'm home, I'm home.
I don't know that many people near where I live. In London, I reckon, the people who you work with or the people that you'd go boozing with live further from you, on average, then anywhere else in the country.
And then there's the problem of getting babysitters. And the problem of having a missus who has a long list of ideas for a fun night out - bottom of which is sitting in a smelly Irish pub listening to Johnny Allen's Promised Land on the jukebox.
So, bottled beer from the supermarket often rides to the rescue. I share Flann's conviction about draught Porter, but even though canned Guinness is very good (and consistant), there's something profane about drinking it at home. The problem is that you have to kiss a load of frogs to get a decent bottle. So, to save you the bother, here's a list of the winners and losers:
- Fursty Ferret; OK. Not bad. Slightly too bitter - noticeably bottled taste, but OK. 7/10
- Rebellion; red colour, hint of bonfire toffee. Hard to drink more than one bottle. OK. 6/10
- Spitfire; Good. A bit dry and bitter, could have a fresher finish, but quite drinkeable. 8/10.
- Waitrose 'Green Man' Organic Ale; Quite light. Good taste, whiskyish hint, a bit gassy, but drinkeable enough. 8/10.
- Timothy Taylor Landlord - 'stong pale ale'; Actually only 4.1% and nothing much wrong with it. Maybe a bit gassy, but maybe all bottled beers are gassy? 8/10.
- WychCraft; 4.5% from Wychwood. Hoppy smell. V.good. 8/10.
- Marstons Single Malt; 4.2%. Nice, beery taste. Slightly smokey - noticeably nice after the WychCraft. 8/10.
- St Peters' Organic Ale; 4.5%. The king of bottled beers. Clear, bright and drinkeable. Just the right balance of bitterness, sweetness and dryness. 9.5/10
- Marston's Pedigree; 4.5%. Darker than most, heavier than most, not as good as the draught version. Not very drinkable. 5/10 at best.
- Badger 'Golden Glory' - 4.5%; Very fruity & sweet, peach aroma. Delicious on first taste. Probably couldn't drink too much though, but if you plan to have only one bottle, this is it. It's a bit acidy, but if you worry about after-effects, you'd never drink any beer in the first place. 9/10.