Monday, May 30, 2005

Real Ale in Dubai

That's an oxymoronical title isn't it? At least it has been for as long as I've lived here. The only beers you could get, either in pubs or at MMI or A&E shops used to be every lager ever invented, brown stuff with widgets (John Smith's, Boddies, Murphy's and Guinness), bottled brown stuff without widgets (Newcy Brown), and Strongbow Cider (and the occassional Blackthorn). You never got actual 'real ale' because allegedly it doesn't travel, and everybody hates the stuff.

So I was planning to visit MMI on my way home from work today, desultorily wondering whether to buy a case of boring Heineken in poxy 33cl cans, or splash out on something like John Smith's. I was not really excited by either option, so imagine my surprise when I got into MMI and they had bottles of Old Speckled Hen and Abbott Ale on the counter.

I have to tell you, Greene King's Abbott Ale is my absolute number one topmost favourite beer on the planet. I quite like it. Old Spotty Hen comes a close second. I was so happy last June when I spent a couple of weeks in England and found that all J. D. Wetherspoon's pubs now sell Abbott. There's at least one JDW boozer in all the towns I visited on that trip (except Camberley, southern pansy town). When I first encountered Abbott, while doing a student summer job as a Kitchen Hygiene Assistant at Butlin's in Clacton, Essex, you could only get itf at a few boozers in East Angular.

So, back to MMI. The price for a case is, unsurprisingly, outrageous, even more than the price for big cans with widgets in 'em. But I absolutely could not buy a case of Heineken, while knowing that for only about twice as much money, I could get a case of beer that I actually love. I got the Abbott Ale.

I apologise for this post being a little bit non-inclusive. If you're not a Brit or a beer drinker you'll probably have no idea what most of the above was about, so leave a comment if you need any clarification.