View Full Version : Called to the Bar - The Taste — another world

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09-03-2010, 20:50
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In search of an image and associated story about a Whitbread lager dispensed from a tap-like fount, I gather together copies of The Taste, which ran — I seem to remember — from around 1998 for a couple of years. The issues have busy covers, lots of headlines, pre-Photoshop pix of beer bottles and the logo ‘Britain’s Brightest Beeriodical’. Cover shots include Santa behind the bar, Harvey’s and the river that runs past it (and would flood it not long afterwards), Lemmy, a pub with a cut-out of Mick the Tick in front, Jo Guest and a bevy of cheesy looking sub-Page Three women holding pints (they are clothed, just). It’s beer as beer was then, manly, trade-like, beery, sweaty, yo-ho-ho, freemasonish, whiskery, clubby, Bass and some other biggies, ruby-faced porters in bowlers, some class but a lot of foam plus CAMRA, though the magazine always reserved the right not to agree with the Campaign (when Roger Protz returned to edit the Good Beer Guide in 1999 he was described as an ‘old hand’). Writers from then still serving time at the coal-face of beerwriting (© Bumper Book of Clichés) include Brian Glover and Martyn Cornell (I was also a contributor), while Roosters’ Sean Franklin contributed a couple of interesting articles on tasting beer. Looking through the news pages it’s a time of carnage; breweries whose demise the magazine recorded include Vaux and Flowers (did I really care?), while there’s an attempt to list all the microbreweries that were extant then. There was also a regular barmaid of the month… It had an old-fashioned feel though it did try and do one thing differently; as What’s Brewing’s headlines thundered CAMRA’s outrage at whatever brewing duplicity was going on then in the manner of Arthur Scargiill denouncing class traitors, The Taste tried to get away from the hectoring but sadly went too predictably down the nascent lads’ mags route (in fact I remember the editor telling me that WH Smith didn’t have a clue whether to put his mag next to Loaded, BBC Food or Heritage Steam Engines). One issue in January 1999 had the headline ‘free internet access with Breworld (who I remember being very useful with brewery info in 1996 prior to a trip to New England). I don’t know when the magazine finished, it was either 1999 or 2000, but I stopped it in November 1999 when the issue featured a really shoddy pic of a barmaid in Blackpool in a spangly pink bikini — it was enough to put me off my evening’s beer.

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