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I was called to the bar yesterday to watch England. A couple of friends persuaded me out of my solitary existence to watch the football with others. It was in a pub near me, but one that I don't normally go to. I don't care for the place or the beer quality, though in fairness last week when I nipped in just before the last England game to sample the atmosphere and the beer, the bitter was cool and excellent.

Not so yesterday. I tasted off, as if it had been heatstruck before ever reaching the cellar and the Coronation St was a cloudy insult. Both were way too warm which gave a clue. What to do? The family of my friends were there before me and agreed it was poor and they switched to Carlsberg and San Miguel. I tried the Carlsberg. Horrid. All carbonic bite and an odd corn edge. The San Mig was slightly spicy as if a dash of unmalted wheat had been lobbed in. I was tempted, but instead had Lees house lager, Golden Original. It didn't taste of much, but was smoother, fuller and maltier than the Carlsberg. A hefty dose of noble hop would have made this pretty good. I had a few of those and finished off with a San Miguel. It wasn't so bad either, but not something I'd like to repeat often.

I reflected on a few things. Annoyance about the cask beer - this just shouldn't be happening; that this was the first session on British lout I'd had in the pub for over 20 years; how bloody expensive the stuff is.

No wonder they all drink it at home.

And no, I didn't complain. My friends are friends with the manager and I wouldn't have embarrassed them.