Dignity Takes a Holiday

Mr. Malting drinking lager at Butlins, ATP

Mr. Malting drinking lager at Butlins, ATP

Last weekend we went with a group of friends for a heavy metal weekend at the Butlins holiday compound in Minehead.  It was All Tomorrows’ Parties, a music festival headlined by the Melvins.  I’d never been to a Butlins before, and was even misspelling it as Buttlands (I blame my inner Beavis) until I’d seen the sign. I didn’t think about beer until I got there and was confronted with the range of mediocrity: a couple forgettable lagers, Guinness and Blackthorn cider.  The first night I drank the cider which made me feel as if I were poisoning myself, and not slowly.   I looked longingly at all the people carrying around their pints of Guinness.  Guinness is usually my choice when confronted with nitro-banalities.  I thought how bad could it be?  Guinness was my gateway beer– paving the way for my adventures in real ale.  I would drink it and feel nostalgic, right?

Wrong.  It was a terrible pint– thin, too sweet and flat.  And it cost £3.50.

The next day we went into town and stopped to get some local beer– Cotleigh and RCH, both Somerset breweries, have yet to disappoint.  I finished the Exmoor Beast (Exmoor Ales), a beer I’d enjoyed at the Twickenham Beer Festival.  It’s a straight up porter with a warming alcohol front.  I watched as Mr. Malting drank not only the Barn Owl but the Pitchfork as well… (I curse the day I coaxed him to try better beer!  That Barn Owl was mine!) I was left to bang my head to Mastadon while sober, or drink the nitro swill.

You can guess what option I chose. I wondered if the camp looked better to those who were drunk?  If really getting hammered would have lessened the feeling that we were all in a human storage unit?  If it would have dulled the flashing machines waiting to eat our money and blotted out restaurants serving ration-like food that had been dried, frozen or tinned and blanked the bars serving the same yellow lager that was soaked into the carpets. In short: beer, beer everywhere and not a drop to drink.

So, when confronted with a mediocre line-up, what is your tipple of choice?  Or, for those of you with a penchant for the heavy, what is your perfect metal brew?

23 Responses

  1. Buttlands is not affiliated with Bush Gardens.

    • Whahahahahahaahah, Beer Nut! This has got to be the funniest comment written on this blog. There should be a plaque.

  2. I’m afraid I have to admit to actually liking Strongbow. Sometimes I like it with blackcurrant in, too.

    • Hehe– Kake! You’re a closet goth, aren’t you? Is that syrup combination called Snakebite?

  3. I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy the beer on offer at Butlins. I will pass on your comments to our food and beverages team who can use your comments to improve our products.

    So, if you were to choose what would be your beer of choice?

  4. If I’ve had everything else, I default to Deschute’s Mirror Pond.
    If that isn’t on and there isn’t a new bad thing to try, then I go for hard alcohol.

    • Hi Dan– I guess I should have prefaced– maybe this is a particularly British predicament? I’m talking about choice in establishments that wouldn’t serve Mirror Pond. I suppose in Portland you have the luxury of never finding yourself in someplace that dire? In most pubs (or clubs, or pub-like venues) here you have an assortment of things on nitro taps– usually Stella, Fosters, Becks, etc. and then there’s Guinness and Strongbow cider. I don’t know what the American equivalent would be? I guess when confronted with Bud, MIller and Coors (there is really no US equivalent to Strongbow) what would you drink? It’s not a trick question.

      OK, so what kind of hard alcohol?

  5. Hello Butlins representative. Thank you for stopping by my blog. Seeing that the Butlins camp restaurant couldn’t be bothered to fry a real egg (serving powered instead), I’m guessing keeping real ale on hand pump at one of the pubs might be too much to ask?

  6. That’s a pint of Tetley’s Super-Shitty I’m holding. Beats Carlsberg Extra-Fucked everyday of the week.

  7. Properly, Snakebite is a 50-50 mixture of cider and lager. Some people seem to think “Snakebite” automatically means Snakebite and black (Snakebite plus blackcurrant) though. They are wrong.

    As are people who drink Snakebite, with or without black! Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, and goths.

    I don’t really understand why people drink it. I’ve never met anyone who claimed to actually _like_ it.

    • Hi Kake– Thanks for clearing this up. So, uh, what exactly is the concoction of cider and blackcurrent called?

      At Whitby Gothic Weekend lots of people seem to like it. Does it taste like Ribena?

      I can’t imagine drinking cider and lager…I have heard people do this but it is yet the stuff of teen legend to me!

  8. With no decent beer, and no option to leave, I would drink bloody Marys. At least you get a portion of fruit and veg in.

    Bailey will be very excited that you’ve been near his manor. Cotleigh, RCH and Exmoor all have a number of excellent beers. Glad you found a pub to drink them in – Somerset seems to have a number of excellent breweries but it can be difficult to find their products in town pubs, particularly in poorer towns.

    • Hi Boak– When we went into town we found the beers in bottles at Threshers. There were a couple of pubs near the shore which looked lovely but we couldn’t spy what was on tap through the windows. It was 10am and even though the hard core were walking around the camp with cans of lager we felt we should at least try to be sensible! Is Bailey from Somerset? I love the seaside there. We spied a Cotleigh pub somewhere outside of Taunton– we looked longingly at it from the coach window.

  9. With METAL I enjoy the blood of virgin goats. At room temperature, obviously. \m/

    • Hey Liza. I will refrain from making a “there are no virgin goats ’round here” joke. Should we suggest this beverage to Butlins? They would probably serve it cellar temperature with our luck. You know I like my blood hot.

  10. I see what you’re saying now.

    As an FYI, we do have Strongbow here in the states now. I make it drinkable by adding shots of rum and chambord.

    When confronted with swill, if there is local swill (Lone Star in TX, for example) I will go for that. Unless it’s Iron City, which is one of the worst godforsaken beers I have ever drank.

    Coors-out b/c of their support for conservative politicians.

    Miller or Bud though, I’d drink, if there are no other options, unless it’s ‘lite’.

    However you know I go for tequila (oh yes you do) and whiskey for hard alcohol. Whiskey sours if I’m mixing.

  11. I’ve done some research and we were selling Pedigree real ale over the ATP weekend. During 2008 we sold Exmoor Gold and Exmoor Ale. The problem is not many people are buying our real ale so we will only be stocking one real ale in 2009. If you feel strongly about a particular real ale that we should be selling, please let me know and I can pass it on to our beverages team.

    I know that we sell real eggs on resort, so we must have run out. Sorry about that, hope I was of help.

  12. When confronted with a mediocre lineup, I opt for Guinness. I’m not afraid to admit it. You should see the selections at some bars/venues here in Richmond; it can be abysmal. Other “outs” as I call them would be Budweiser American Ale or Yuengling Lager from Pennsylvania. Luckily, several places often have a Sam Adams offering available.

    As for a beer and metal pairing, that’s difficult. What kind of metal we talkin’? I’ll provide a breakdown via select artists:

    Sleep/Electric Wizard/Sunn O)))
    Imperial Stout – Bell’s Expedition, Great Divide Oak-aged Yeti

    Spirit Caravan/Orange Goblin
    Double IPA – Mad River Steelhead, Oskar Blues Gordon

    High on Fire/Motörhead
    Something very drinkable – first thing that comes to mind is Reissdorf Kölsch. Blame it on the umlaut.

  13. Butlins is a shocker!

    Every now and again, I end up somewhere where they only sell that muck and I may go for a guinness for old times sake (it was a drink of choice at one point in my youth). I’m always desperately disappointed so I’ve taken to getting a small glass of port (if i can) and adding it to the guinness. It rescues a crap pint. Of course, I wouldn’t do that with Fullers London Porter and if you’re on a bender it’s not advisable to be drinking port and stout all evening but with a bit of luck I wouldn’t be in that place all evening.

    I love the west country for beer and cider, pubs and people. I’ve never had a bad pint there and loads of great little pubs around.

  14. E.S.– I like the way you think. I’m going to see Orange Goblin next week, but I know they don’t have any Double IPA at the venue…will have just prepare beforehand.

  15. Hi Bernie– Butlins *is* a shocker!

    I am intrigued by this port-doctoring…it’s so crazy it might just work.

    I love the West country too. I felt a little frustrated that I spent the weekend in a Butlins camp when so much of the country surrounding was lovely and welcoming by contrast. The town of Minehead itself seemed so down-to-earth and gentle, really pretty, with this huge eye sore of a camp just dropped on the edge of it. It’s a shame I didn’t get to spend more time there.

  16. ps- Cider with blackcurrant in is called ‘Cider and black’. Who’d a thunk it!

    • Hi Camilla! Thanks for clearing that up. Now I know what not to ask for!

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