Tuesday 24 October 2017

The Thinking Drinkers

"Drink less, drink better" is a mantra I can get behind. Especially in this era of sin-bashing by a plethora of kill-joys masquerading as people concerned for the wellbeing of humanity, it is perhaps useful to consider that being discerning about what we drink is no bad thing. Looking out for and making an effort to find better alcoholic drinks helps re-capture the moral high-ground. At the very least ensuring we are not at the bottom of the hill.

I've known Ben McFarland for a while, I mean, he is a thrice Beer Writer of the Year and writes a fair bit about beer. He's even included us in one of his books1. Tom Sandham it seems is also a renowned drinks writer, although his specialism seems somewhat broader than Ben's. I suppose cocktails might be a thing for some people, even if this particular imbiber prefers not to be so pretentious.2

This duo was created some time ago, as best I can work out around 2011 when they debuted at The Edinburgh Fringe with "The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol" - This seems to coincide with my own conscious recognition of their existence as a duo.

I guess I was confused about what exactly they did. Did they do drinks tastings? Are they a comedy act? Was it perhaps more serious a message they wanted to put across. I have remained healthily intrigued about their act, but had never been in the right place at the right time and available enough to be bothered to drag my sorry arse along to see them live.

"There is something on at the Begger's I think we should go and see" said Ann "Oh?" I said dismissively, as at times our agreement on what makes a good show may differ.Still, The Beggar's Theatre in Millom does bring some good shows from time-to-time, so I guess I was ready to be open minded.

"Yeah, a comedy act, something to do with drinkers or something" she declared, thinking she had knowledge I didn't. "Yeah, know about them" I replied nonchalantly. "Fairly sure this is a brand new show" Ann was determined to maintain that air of superior knowledge. I shattered her illusions "The Thinking Drinkers, Ben and Tom, I think you'll find"

Ann must think I walk around eyes wide shut. I mean, there'd been publicity and stuff, of course I knew about it. Anyway, with a bit of various juggling of other important activities we managed to get to see the show last Friday, and so glad we did.

It was billed as comedy, but with serious faces of apparent drinks connoisseurs on the publicity posters and promise of free drinks, as well as their by now well known mantra we were unsure exactly what to expect. Would it be a drinks tasting event with a few gags? Would it be a lecture on responsible drinking? Oh, wait, the title of the show is "Thinking Drinkers' History of Alcohol" - so, it's a history lesson, perhaps? Indeed, I had heard various comments from idle armchair critiques amongst beer writing circles declare that they "....did not really understand what those two were up to...."

The mistake, I guess, is to think that serious drinks writers can't do comedy. Ben is three times Beer Writer of the Year, he shouldn't be lowering the tone by making people laugh, that's disrespectful.

Well laugh we did. Without doubt the prime genre is that of comedy, up front and in your face.Yes, there is some historical stuff in there, but much more by way of creating a vague storyline. There are some drinks tastings to be had, which was kinda good, as we were promised that. But predominantly it was a broad appeal, slightly adult, clever and fast-paced comedy piece. One of those great bits of comedy where you groan at the obvious puns, guffaw at the innuendoes, bravo the clever more subtle jokes and still feel there was more you didn't quite understand, but didn't mind because you were still recovering from the last gag.

We enjoyed the evening, and sharing a few beers after the show. We even gave in and bought their latest book, Thinking Drinkers: The Enlightened Imbiber's Guide to Alcohol.

So, if you get a chance, go and see the show, we had a great time.


1We are fairly sure it is Boutique Beer: 500 Quality Craft Beers, but as we haven't actually got a copy we can't check. Jeez, we can't be going and buying every book that we happen to get mentioned in.

2It's relative I guess. Most regular beer drinkers probably think I'm pretentious in my outlook towards beer. However, most cocktails seem to have left me feeling like I just wasted a whole lot more money than I needed to and sent me right back to enjoying some good beer.

3Ann still thinks The Sound of Music is a great show. I mean.....

4And some of the risqué costumes did leave a little bit too much in your face. My mind is still tainted by the sight of way too much ... Although it appears the girls didn't mind too much, they told me afterwards, so perhaps drinks writers can be sex symbols after all.


The Beer Nut said...

Infra-Red is in the new edition of their World's Best Beers. I'm still annoyed at how unreflective the Ireland section of it is, but I guess that's list books for you.

mentaldental said...

"However, most cocktails seem to have left me feeling like I just wasted a whole lot more money than I needed to and sent me right back to enjoying some good beer."

I think you might have been drinking the wrong cocktails or drinking in the wrong bars. A well-made made, proper cocktail is a thing of beauty. Obviously not some of those modern, over-sweet concoctions aimed at the kiddies with names relating to body parts or sexual practices.

Of course, on many (more frequent) occasions only a beer will do.