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Would you try a 'reverse Guinness' when sheltering from the rain at the pub?

The Bar Man column by CAMRA's Jeff Hoyle, Friday, January 3, 2020

It’s time for the decorations to come down and to return to normal life for another year.

Perhaps this is a good thing as the festivities seem to have made some people a touch less aware. Just before Christmas we had a period of heavy rain, and our seasonal lake appeared once again in the Walks.

CAMRA logo. The Bar Man by Lynn News columnist Jeff Hoyle
CAMRA logo. The Bar Man by Lynn News columnist Jeff Hoyle

It was not as extensive as some years, but it did cover a portion of the path from the railway crossing to the Guanock Gate.

Fortunately a flood sign appeared at either end of the affected section to warn people who had not noticed the vast puddle in their way, which at its deepest may have measured several inches.

Despite this danger warning I noticed some reckless individuals actually cycling through with the water lapping around the rims of their tyres, while dogs splashed around at great risk of getting rather muddy.

If the signs are truly necessary, perhaps they should be multilingual, floodlit at night and guarded. Maybe the puddle should be fenced off.

Or perhaps that would be an over-reaction. Surely people are sensible enough to decide whether they are prepared to get their feet slightly wet instead of taking a short diversion. Or at least I thought common sense abounded until I read a column in the Times.

It seems that some of the ‘once a year’ visitors came into her local for a Christmas drink. At the bar the order was three pints of lager and a pint of Guinness, and when it was delivered and paid for, the customer asked the barman ‘Which one is the Guinness?’

Would it be more understandable if they had chosen ‘reverse Guinness’ brewed by the Sinstral brewery in Liverpool? On sale recently at the Rose pub in Norwich, it has a black head and a white body.

It is described as having a chocolatey taste, much like a normal stout, but has attracted drinkers who would not consider such a drink ordinarily. Still, whatever the colour it would be the odd one out from the four pints on the counter.

As well as the decorations it is also time to say goodbye to the other novelties on the bar. The pump clips with the flashing lights, the beers that taste like plum puddings, the silly names, such as Sloe Storm which I spotted (but didn’t try) at Northwold Crown. Save the sloes for gin I reckon.

No more mulled wine for a year, something that will be no hardship for me, and eggnog. Bye bye eggnog, I shan’t miss you.

Apparently George Washington made his own, which perhaps made his winter camp at Valley Forge a bit more tolerable, but I suspect even he didn’t try the vegan version, a recipe for which dropped into my inbox the other day. Dates, nuts, apricots, brandy and almond milk if you are interested.

One tradition that has ended this year is going to watch Bury play. I hope that Lynn will be an adequate substitute, but we have decided to head down to London.

Maybe we will search out the Churchill Arms in Kensington to see the 97 Christmas trees and 27,000 lights which decorate it, but I am on the look-out for a non-league game to watch.

I asked the bar wife if she would prefer Barking or Tooting. She looked at me rather strangely and decided that a visit to Kensington Palace might be preferable.

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