Your shout: David Clack - 'A pint for £7? Seems fair'

Written by
David Clack

Stop moaning about how expensive London's craft beer is. With booze, you get what you pay for. And so do the rest of us.

Hello, my name's David and I have a drink problem - I only like the pricy stuff. I'm the guy who keeps you waiting at the bar while I try three different samples before committing to a full pint. The one who interrupts conversations about football to sing the virtues of US Citra hops over British Goldings, and whose idea of a wild night out involves heading to a 'meet the brewer' event and demanding the hosts give me feedback on my homebrew.

The weird thing is that, a good decade or so after London's craft beer scene exploded, these things still have the power to make me the most unpopular man in the pub. So why do some Londoners tut at the idea that beer's for the savouring, not the swilling? Seriously - the wine world has been getting away with this shit for centuries.

The main complaint from the fizzy-lager faithful is, of course, that craft beer is just too expensive. From a certain perspective, you can see why: depending on what part of town you're in, a pint of Beavertown's seminal Gamma Ray APA, for example, could set you back as much as £7. But so what? That's only twice what you'd pay for a pint of Stella. As with wine (or any other premium booze, for that matter) it's all about appreciation over intoxication - I'd rather have two pints of wonderfully aromatic, locally brewed IPA and stumble home feeling a bit giggly than spend the same money on four pints of production-line suds and wake up with a rotten head and the suspicion that a small rodent may have crept into my mouth during the night and died - and not just because I'm getting old and my hangovers last fucking for ever these days.

There's another, more serious, reason that pricier pints are good for London. Hospital admissions for alcohol-related incidents are higher in the capital than the rest of the country, which is hardly surprising when you consider that 23 percent of London drinkers regularly binge on booze. Maybe more expensive beer is as good a way as any to reduce the volume of sick that ends up on tube platforms?

But let's not pretend that Londoners have developed a taste for 9 percent imperial stouts out of social responsibility. We've embraced craft beer because the capital's brewers do the stuff like nowhere else in the world, and to not take advantage of the fact would be a massive bloody waste.

So, come on: give expensive beer a chance. Be a snob. There's no need to renounce Wetherspoons for ever, to start growing hops in your window box or a big beard on your face. Just grab some dosh, get down the pub and make the most of having some of the best beer on earth right on your doorstep.

First round's on you, though, yeah?

Illustration: Nate Kitch

Want more ranting and raving? Read Hannah J Davies' column on why London is nothing like 'The Apprentice'.

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