Beer f’baby – the first tri-mester 4


It started like this.

The normal January de-tox. Not great for our local landlords, but current self-preservation theory says I need to do it while I’m young enough for it to make a difference. Thank goodness we’re all different. So, no beer for January – but a landmark for Newark to look forward to at the end of the month – the first Winter Beer Festival was guaranteed; I had booked my tickets 2 months early. 40 beers on the list! Game on.

On the day, I finally persuaded the wife to join CAMRA – yes, it paid for itself, but more importantly, an extra vote and an extra voice in these difficult times. And then the beer: heaven in our own town; from near (Louisiana Smoked porter from Derby) and far (Boadicea from Fife). The range was “From Good, to Great” (the book of the same name is good for you business people out there, especially the chapter on Hedgehogs). The wife couldn’t leave the Springhead “Cromwell’s Hat” alone – was it the hint of juniper, a tempting taste of the summer G&T’s, or something more impending? We needed clarity.

OMG. Much more impending. Let me assure you, with the news we got on Valentine’s Day, clarity we got. Of the clear-blue kind. Our lives were going to change, big style, and forever. Twins run in the maternal family. OMG.

The immediate reaction was to pull in the purse strings and utilise the Wetherspoon’s vouchers (an amazing benefit to joining CAMRA). After that, trips to Bathley (Newark CAMRA pub of the year and excellent, affordable food), a return to the Castle & Falcon (never fails for excellent beer and a warm welcome from Dave & Dawn) and a trip to the resurrected Inn on The Green to relive one of my (late) teenage haunts. And a trip to the hospital revealed one, not two, unaffected by WBF1. I’ll drink to that.
Between you and me, I’m scared stiff of the future. But I love my new personal driver even more than I love my beer. It took a while for me to get used to the fact that when we now walk into a pub, I check out the hand-pulls and she now checks out the kid’s menu. I always wondered what CAMRA’s take on children, families and beer was. I’ll try to let you know in the next two trimesters.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

4 thoughts on “Beer f’baby – the first tri-mester

  • sennukiNo Gravatar

    Fair enough, this posting is late. The second trimester is over. But let me tell you, if the baby is on time, I’ll apologise. Until then, this is my (not so private) retaliation.In the first blog I promised to let you know about what pubs think about kids in bars. Well, I was shocked when I did a search on t ‘net. Apparently, by law, every bar has to let children into pubs, irrespective of whether their parents are eating or not, or are gagged (the children, that is). Landlords have to apply for special licence to ban children from their establishments! This is a total change of mindset from when I grew up, where Vimtos and crisps in the back of the car, while the parents had a swift half once a month, probably Watney’s, was the norm. It is such a massive change that I can’t believe it’s true, or even enforced in this way. Anyway, being a mature father-to-be, I genuinely thought building up for the big day meant unlimited guilt-free drinking (I’d done my bit in the genetic equation), with a committed all-hours driver, in preparation for a fair share of the initial duties and long lie-ins to both prepare and recover. How wrong (naïve) could I be?!The reality dawned fairly quickly. The other half (a CAMRA member), was tired by 8:30pm, drank J2Os like they were in a scene from “I am Legend” (going out of fashion), yet wanted to go home after half a lime-and-soda. Yet I had normal working hours followed by abnormal amounts of DIY to get the house ready! I could see my last drinking session for the next 18 years fizzling out to a swift half at home. So what could possibly be the high points?Well, many. Properly discovering the Southwell “Golden Mile”, the Vine’s cracking LocAle selection (plus further-a-field), beer and wasps at the POTY, a maltings tour with George, the resurgence of The Green Man in Norton Disney, innumerable beers from Yorkshire (the Castle) on the same night as 3 beers from Milestone in Wetherspoons. Fantastic beer in the Spread Eagle. The point is, many highlights. All (most) shared with the same wonderful person (driver), but now with a different priority. So, smaller quantity, and less time, but great quality.This second trimester has mellowed me (god forbid). It is so easy to criticize the beer situation in the Newark area. But contrast that to a week in Bellingham, Northumberland. 3 pubs, all welcoming tourists and their children, but only one with a single hand pull (admittedly local and in reasonable quality – but come on, only one beer!!!). In my experience, most pubs up there serve a single, local beer, if at all. Imagine living there! Seriously, in the far north of England, if you want to drink ale, but not a local one, you have to drive a long way (Greene King excepted). At least in Newark a 400 yard walk should do the trick. Don’t want to try Jennings in The King’s Head because of the loud music? Fed up of Black Sheep? Adnams not adventurous enough for you anymore? Try drinking smooth flow forever, no option. So, choice is my second trimester buzz-word.Deep into third-3, I’m becoming increasingly nervous of my opportunity for beer consumption in volume, for good reason. But, if you are worried about choice, travel a bit (400 yards). You might find Newark ain’t so bad for a swift half, children or not. Trimester 3 – may be more about DIY than beer !!!

  • sennuki

    Fair enough, this posting is late. The second trimester is over. But let me tell you, if the baby is on time, I’ll apologise. Until then, this is my (not so private) retaliation.

    In the first blog I promised to let you know about what pubs think about kids in bars. Well, I was shocked when I did a search on t ‘net. Apparently, by law, every bar has to let children into pubs, irrespective of whether their parents are eating or not, or are gagged (the children, that is). Landlords have to apply for special licence to ban children from their establishments! This is a total change of mindset from when I grew up, where Vimtos and crisps in the back of the car, while the parents had a swift half once a month, probably Watney’s, was the norm. It is such a massive change that I can’t believe it’s true, or even enforced in this way.

    Anyway, being a mature father-to-be, I genuinely thought building up for the big day meant unlimited guilt-free drinking (I’d done my bit in the genetic equation), with a committed all-hours driver, in preparation for a fair share of the initial duties and long lie-ins to both prepare and recover. How wrong (naïve) could I be?!

    The reality dawned fairly quickly. The other half (a CAMRA member), was tired by 8:30pm, drank J2Os like they were in a scene from “I am Legend” (going out of fashion), yet wanted to go home after half a lime-and-soda. Yet I had normal working hours followed by abnormal amounts of DIY to get the house ready! I could see my last drinking session for the next 18 years fizzling out to a swift half at home. So what could possibly be the high points?

    Well, many. Properly discovering the Southwell “Golden Mile”, the Vine’s cracking LocAle selection (plus further-a-field), beer and wasps at the POTY, a maltings tour with George, the resurgence of The Green Man in Norton Disney, innumerable beers from Yorkshire (the Castle) on the same night as 3 beers from Milestone in Wetherspoons. Fantastic beer in the Spread Eagle. The point is, many highlights. All (most) shared with the same wonderful person (driver), but now with a different priority. So, smaller quantity, and less time, but great quality.

    This second trimester has mellowed me (god forbid). It is so easy to criticize the beer situation in the Newark area. But contrast that to a week in Bellingham, Northumberland. 3 pubs, all welcoming tourists and their children, but only one with a single hand pull (admittedly local and in reasonable quality – but come on, only one beer!!!). In my experience, most pubs up there serve a single, local beer, if at all. Imagine living there! Seriously, in the far north of England, if you want to drink ale, but not a local one, you have to drive a long way (Greene King excepted). At least in Newark a 400 yard walk should do the trick. Don’t want to try Jennings in The King’s Head because of the loud music? Fed up of Black Sheep? Adnams not adventurous enough for you anymore? Try drinking smooth flow forever, no option. So, choice is my second trimester buzz-word.

    Deep into third-3, I’m becoming increasingly nervous of my opportunity for beer consumption in volume, for good reason. But, if you are worried about choice, travel a bit (400 yards). You might find Newark ain’t so bad for a swift half, children or not.

    Trimester 3 – may be more about DIY than beer !!!

  • sennukiNo Gravatar

    Eight-thirty Monday morning. People slowly awakening to the new working week, recanting stories of fun-filled week-ends; beers tasted. Normal people, that is.But on this Monday, my story is different. I’m listening to The Sundays on vinyl on my self-repaired turntable (what a useful way of spending my first two trimesters). An ironic choice of artist – I saw Sunday morning in, and with under 4 hours sleep last night, saw it end; now I’m prolonging the memory well into Monday morning. Nobody told me sleep deprivation made you feel physically ill.My beer drinking in the final third was eagerly anticipated: an eager driver; autumnal beers arriving at the pumps; lending a helping hand at the Nottingham beer festival. Throw in a mate’s stag-do, stir in a feeling that I may have to pause from imbibing for a while after the birth, and a recipe for guilt free indulgence now is duly served. I even had plans to start my first cider batch from the Bramley tree in the garden.I can actually hear you parents laughing now, but I’ll continue.The reality was staggeringly different. High points there were – Blue Monkey beers at the Castle & Falcon. A great selection sampled at the Vine. A mixed case of bottle-conditioned beers from Whitstable Bay brewery. But that was it. I had forgotten I needed to remain capable of driving, and hadn’t realised my driver would find it harder to reach the steering wheel. The list of child-friendly pubs was not even started. The stag-do for me consisted of 2 pints of Black Sheep. I did have one big night out, as the wife promised me she wasn’t going to have a baby that night (she did good on that promise, but had him the next day – the most effective hangover cure I’ve yet come across). Throw in a couple of weeks of some strange illness, cut the final 3 weeks off because of the early arrival of the sub-plot to this article (remember I should be talking about beer first), and in a blink of an eye my beer consumption opportunity had gone.[Pause here to turn the album over. How I’ve missed doing that]I can’t really remember the main purpose for this trilogy of articles that coincide with the fermentation of my son. On reflection, any main thrust about beer has been easily over-shadowed by my poor attempts to prepare for the actual main event. What it has shown me, and most likely me alone, is that beer isn’t one of my priorities. It hurts to write that. I’ve spent 23 legal years searching for and drinking real ale, and the last few years working out when I can retire to make it properly. And in the blink of an eye, it slips down the pecking order a notch. In fact, several notches if you include sleep, nappy changing, and checking out nurseries. Did I put sleep? Don’t forget that one. Must get more sleep.Finally, my planning horizon has lengthened somewhat – rather than next week-end’s drinking, I’m planning where to buy my son his first beer. Forecasting this is more difficult. Will real ale be around in 18 years time? Will the English pub be open for service? Will choice and quality have grown or reduced by then? Will we be able to program the “Spinner” to take us on a driverless pub crawl (Bladerunner, 1982)? Will aggressively-hoppy, wasp-like summer pales have annihilated my preferred sweeter, malty, pacifist, honey-bee beers? How much will it cost (read “What proportion of this is tax”)?It feels like the battle for real ale is being won at the moment, despite my non-existent effort in the fight. Please keep fighting it on my behalf, and I’ll see you in the pub in a few years time. Hopefully less than 18.

  • sennuki

    Eight-thirty Monday morning. People slowly awakening to the new working week, recanting stories of fun-filled week-ends; beers tasted. Normal people, that is.

    But on this Monday, my story is different. I’m listening to The Sundays on vinyl on my self-repaired turntable (what a useful way of spending my first two trimesters). An ironic choice of artist – I saw Sunday morning in, and with under 4 hours sleep last night, saw it end; now I’m prolonging the memory well into Monday morning. Nobody told me sleep deprivation made you feel physically ill.

    My beer drinking in the final third was eagerly anticipated: an eager driver; autumnal beers arriving at the pumps; lending a helping hand at the Nottingham beer festival. Throw in a mate’s stag-do, stir in a feeling that I may have to pause from imbibing for a while after the birth, and a recipe for guilt free indulgence now is duly served. I even had plans to start my first cider batch from the Bramley tree in the garden.

    I can actually hear you parents laughing now, but I’ll continue.

    The reality was staggeringly different. High points there were – Blue Monkey beers at the Castle & Falcon. A great selection sampled at the Vine. A mixed case of bottle-conditioned beers from Whitstable Bay brewery. But that was it. I had forgotten I needed to remain capable of driving, and hadn’t realised my driver would find it harder to reach the steering wheel. The list of child-friendly pubs was not even started. The stag-do for me consisted of 2 pints of Black Sheep. I did have one big night out, as the wife promised me she wasn’t going to have a baby that night (she did good on that promise, but had him the next day – the most effective hangover cure I’ve yet come across). Throw in a couple of weeks of some strange illness, cut the final 3 weeks off because of the early arrival of the sub-plot to this article (remember I should be talking about beer first), and in a blink of an eye my beer consumption opportunity had gone.

    [Pause here to turn the album over. How I’ve missed doing that]

    I can’t really remember the main purpose for this trilogy of articles that coincide with the fermentation of my son. On reflection, any main thrust about beer has been easily over-shadowed by my poor attempts to prepare for the actual main event. What it has shown me, and most likely me alone, is that beer isn’t one of my priorities. It hurts to write that. I’ve spent 23 legal years searching for and drinking real ale, and the last few years working out when I can retire to make it properly. And in the blink of an eye, it slips down the pecking order a notch. In fact, several notches if you include sleep, nappy changing, and checking out nurseries. Did I put sleep? Don’t forget that one. Must get more sleep.

    Finally, my planning horizon has lengthened somewhat – rather than next week-end’s drinking, I’m planning where to buy my son his first beer. Forecasting this is more difficult. Will real ale be around in 18 years time? Will the English pub be open for service? Will choice and quality have grown or reduced by then? Will we be able to program the “Spinner” to take us on a driverless pub crawl (Bladerunner, 1982)? Will aggressively-hoppy, wasp-like summer pales have annihilated my preferred sweeter, malty, pacifist, honey-bee beers? How much will it cost (read “What proportion of this is tax”)?

    It feels like the battle for real ale is being won at the moment, despite my non-existent effort in the fight. Please keep fighting it on my behalf, and I’ll see you in the pub in a few years time. Hopefully less than 18.