>In Praise of Context

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If there’s one theme that I keep returning to when it comes to beer (and food) it’s context. The simple can be elevated to the divine, if the context is right.

Like many of us, I have a pretty stressful job. I manage people, and have to keep a number of balls in the air at any one time. On one hand, I like my job; I’m in a good position, with a good rep and with prospects in front of me. On the other hand – i’m not really passionate about it. What I am passionate about – writing and beer – gets an airing here.

Last week I had a rare day off. I took a little lunchtime walk to a pub in Bramley, where I live, called The Old Unicorn. It’s a Taylor’s pub, and very much a ‘local’ atmosphere going on. Depending on the day, it can be dead or busy – on this day, there was a fair old crowd in there. I picked up a paper, ordered a sandwich and a pint of Landlord, and sat down.
Taylor’s Landlord. A beer risen to near mythical heights outside of Yorkshire, and normally a beacon of quality no matter where you drink it. Living in Leeds, I’ve spent many a night in Bradford, Keighley and Haworth supping this archetypal ubiquitous pale bitter. Despite the legend, it can be ordinary (very ordinary) when served in bad condition.

But this pint wasn’t. It was bang on. Fresh, floral, malty, sweet, with a tight, everlasting head, it brightened my mood so much that it vanished in four gulps and another was ordered. I wasn’t in glamorous surroundings, nor supping some imported US gem – this was plain old Yorkshire in a glass, with the sports pages open in front of me (dissecting our loss against Carlisle the night before) and a Club Sandwich to fill my stomach. This was heaven. This was four days ago, and I can still taste that pint now.

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About leighgoodstuff

Blog: https://goodfoodgoodbeer.wordpress.com/ I'm Leigh Linley; born and bred in Leeds, and writing about it since 2005. TGS exists solely to highlight the great beers that are out there; brewed with passion by Craft Brewers around the World. I also edit the 'Tavern Tales' section of Culture Vulture, which looks at Pubs and Pub Life rather than the beer in the glass.

Posted on 14/02/2010, in beer in leeds, beer in yorkshire, beer news, Beer Review, Timothy Taylor's. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. >Odd to think of Landlord as "ordinary". In my experience it's been either awful or sublime.

  2. >Exactly!Context is everything in my experience. Although I don't drink much Pilsner Urquell, there are only a couple of pubs in Prague where I enjoy it every time (I don't touch the stuff in bottles over here for fear of being disappointed because it doesn't travel well).A few times I have been sat in my favourite pub in Prague, with a well regarded beer in my hand and just not enjoyed it – I think one's mood is also vital to enjoying a beer.

  3. >That is the best thing about the best beer, when it leaves that sort of impression, sometimes that is all you need, extreme beers, rad IPAs can wait for another time — I had a similar thing with several Tributes at lunchtime today, they were bang on rights, bittersweet, tingling, sprightly and dancing so graciously across my palate that I didn’t leave for ages.

  4. >Amen, brother.

  5. >Landlord's a fantastic beer, and it seems to be getting more common down south 🙂

  6. >I agree you can't beat a pint of landlord in perfect condition (although it does seem difficult for some places to keep it well).Thankfully my local in Rodley (the Owl) do a good job of keeping it well. I'm off to sample a pint now!

  7. >Glad to see people agree – I'm with you, beer nut – it does seem to be either very dull or amazing. Phil – The Owl's a great pub – much improved and thier festivals in the summer are really good, family, fun.

  8. >I've still never found a pint to beat a Landlord in prime condition. Without doubt the best beer in the world.

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