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PUBLICANS and the drinks industry are largely to blame for the demise of pubs. Draft real ale is unavailable in 99% of Irish pubs – there is a selection of overpriced insipid chemical lagers, one-keg beer, and thankfully three stouts, all of which are the same strength – about 4.5%.
In Britain, 3.5% real ale is available in most pubs, and quite palatable mild beer with 2.2% alcohol used to be available everywhere.
Having weaker beers available would do a lot to solve the problems of alcoholism, drunkenness and drink-driving. However, real ale, which is brewed from malt, yeast (which is alive), hops and water contains no chemicals, but takes a degree of skill and care to brew, transport and manage. Irish publicans do not even keep a selection of quality bottled beer.
This probably reflects the idea of drinking beer to get drunk rather than as a gastronomic and social pleasure.
The traditional intimate, cosy and friendly (but scruffy) bars, emulated throughout the world as “Irish pubs”, has sadly disappeared here and been replaced by huge sterile lounges where customers sit in silence staring at TV screens or endure idiot music in every nook and cranny.
Roll on the day Wetherspoons comes to Ireland.
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