Tim Hampson's Beer Blog

The quest for the perfect beer

Beer in art and literature – number 1

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Beer Matters it really does. And it is for this reason that so many writers and artists use beer and pubs in their creations. This is the first in what will be an occasional series of some of my favourite mentions of beer by some of the world’s greatest creators.

 Dylan Thomas published a collection of short stories in 1940 called Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog.

In one of the stories Old Garbo, not only can his surreal humour is seen to be developing but so is his appreciation of beer with “its live, white lather, its brass-bright depths.”

The time is 1931 and the story is set in The Three Lamps, a pub in Swansea, South Wales, where Thomas had been working.

 I leant against the bar. drinking bitter, wishing that my father could see me now. He could not fail to see that I was a boy no longer, nor fail to be angry at the angle of my fag and my hat and the threat of the clutched tankard. I liked the taste of beer, its live, white lather, its brass-bright depths, the sudden world through the wet-brown walls of the glass, the tilted rush to the lips and the slow swallowing down to the lapping belly, the salt on the tongue, the foam at the corners.

‘Same again, miss.’ She was middle-aged. ‘One for you, miss?’

‘Not during hours, ta all the same.’

‘You’re welcome.’

Was that an invitation to drink with her afterwards, to wait at the back door until she glided out, and then to walk through the night, along the promenade and sands, on to a soft dune where couples lay loving under their coats and looking at the Mumbles Lighthouse?


I am indebted to the late great beer writer Michael Jackson for drawing my attention to this story.


Written by timhampson

July 25, 2013 at 11:26 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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