When I was a student, I tried various drinks: mild, bitter, brown and bitter, Guinness, lager, lager and lime, and cider (probably Woodpecker) to find out what I preferred. I settled on bitter. I was a student in Padgate, just on the edge of Warrington, and as the local brewery used to boast in adverts, it was Greenall Whitley Land - they owned nearly every pub in the area, and if you were a lager drinker, that was Grünhalle. You didn't have to be a genius to realise that Grünhalle was German for Greenall, so I was often surprised how many people didn't realise that fact, or that it was brewed in Warrington. As I recall, lager drinkers didn't rate Grünhalle highly, but in those days, you drank what was on offer, or not at all - and that applied to bitter and mild as well as lager.
|Pinched from Tandleman|
In the 1980s, when I was working in Liverpool, Higsons pubs used to stock Carling Black Label, but decided to brew their own lager. Thankfully, they didn't call it Higstein or some such nonsense, but simply Higsons Lager. As I recall, lager drinkers often weren't keen, although some bitter drinkers said it was better than most lagers! They gave up after a while and brewed Kaltenberg under licence instead, but their nice new lager brewery made them attractive for takeover and was instrumental in their closure: proof, surely, that lager isn't good for you.
The success of micropubs and bottled beer shops means that interested drinkers are becoming more aware of the range of beers available from both this country and abroad. However, much as I welcome a discerning approach to beer, I'm not much interested in bottled beers myself. Even if they are beers that I like, I much prefer the draught real ale to its bottled equivalent. Bottles are fine at home, on the odd occasion I drink beer at home. I've occasionally had a Budweiser Budvar, Pilsner Urquell or similar; pleasant enough for a change, but not a Road to Damascus moment.
We have the modern phenomenon of quality lagers being brewed being brewed by micros and craft breweries. Harviestoun Schiehallion was the first of such beers I came across; as I recall, it was in cask at Fleetwood Beer Festival. It's a while since I've had it, but as I recall, it seemed to have more in common with modern golden ales than it did with Skol or Fosters.
My position is quite simple: I prefer cask real ale, but you can drink whatever you like. I don't think my attitude is radically different from most real ale drinkers I come across and, as a member, it's logical to assume that I meet a fair number of other CAMRA members.
This post has turned out much longer than I originally intended. However, I'll end with this: if I'm buying a round and a drinker asks for lager without specifying a brand, I'll just order the cheapest on the assumption he or she isn't bothered.