If there is one thing that CAMRA seems to have accidentally, but willingly, sponsored over the last thirty years – its the ever so clever witty beer name. Real Ale’s, often been brewed as special beers, are often named thematically and the badges often have the tendency to contain DO YOU SEE poor cartoons which compliment these names. All of which is a bit schoolboy, especially when the names are of the order of “Bishop Basher” or some other inappropriate innuendo. Sometimes its just the shit cartoon on the clip that drives you to the lager – YES I AM TALKING TO YOU WYCHWOOD BREWERY. Put it like this, is the choice is between a pint of “Buxom Wench” and “Kronenbourg”, the 1664 wins it.
This does not mean that a beers name cannot be witty. And at the recent Hackney Pig’s Ear Beer festival it was all agreed that the Pitfield Brewery’s “Night On Mare Street II” lived in the acceptably amusing beer name category. The beer festival took place in Ocean on Mare Street – so you see what they did with their name. Its a play on the popular film sequence – including the sequels*, BUT THE LOLL’s don’t stop there. Because the beer itself is a whopping 14.2% Thus a potential nightmare in bottle / draught form. 14.2% starts going beyond barley wine and into a hithertoo unappreciated area of bouze, namely the barley FORTIFIED wine.
We got a half and shared it around. It was gorgeous. Like a thinner, maltier glass of port. Sweet, strong and wonderful. Possibly not designed to be drunk in massive volumes. But I liked it so much I bought a couple of bottles, and Steve bought some of the previous years offering Night On Mare Street I, which was 14%. Hooray for Pitfield brewery! which I had always assumed, with a name that evokes FIELDS and PITS was somewhere in the North. Or at least in a traditional mining community. I had not realised it was names after Pitfield Street in Hoxton, where it was a back room brewery of an off-licence until recently. Pitfield Brewery is now based just outside Colchester, but this was originally a London Brewery. I have always liked their beers, and didn’t know that it was originally an Islington brewery. Go figure! And I am looking forward to a double bill of Night On Mare Street and its sequel some time over Christmas. And look forward to Night On Mare Street III: Beer Warriors next year. (If just to see if the beers follow the film sequence of the odd numbered ones being the best).
*Night On Mare Street was made by them the previous year.