Nothing like nicking an idea from a smarter beer blogger. Pete Brown has waxed about George Orwell by way of introduction to his post about that beer movie called Beertickers: Beyond The Ale. While the movie is likely to be recognized as the best beer movie of the year, Pete's comments about it are not what I am nicking. It's an essay of Orwell's he mentions, "The Moon Under Water." You can find the whole text here but as it is so short I will ruin it for you by sharing the end:
...if anyone knows of a pub that has draught stout, open fires, cheap meals, a garden, motherly barmaids and no radio, I should be glad to hear of it, even though its name were something as prosaic as the Red Lion or the Railway Arms.
In that conclusion, Orwell provides a summary of his argument as any good rhetorician would. Somewhere I read that a good presentation begins with an explanation of what you are about to say, a description of the five points to be made, the making of the five points, a description that you just heard about five points and, finally, an explanation of what you just said. Orwell is far better than the lunkiness of that scheme but essentially uses that sort of structure. And he does so to the end of defining the perfect pub. For our purposes, note the description of the food:
You cannot get dinner at the Moon Under Water, but there is always the snack counter where you can get liver-sausage sandwiches, mussels (a speciality of the house), cheese, pickles and those large biscuits with caraway seeds in them which only seem to exist in public-houses. Upstairs, six days a week, you can get a good, solid lunch —for example, a cut off the joint, two vegetables and boiled jam roll—for about three shillings.
Note the modesty and implied value that the pub brings. Good food for a reasonable price. Sandwich as snack. He even uses the word "cheap" - imagine! And while he doesn't "pair" let alone "tick" you do have a sense that the creamy stout goes well with the cut off the joint. All part of the refuge that is offered by "The Moon Under Water" - comfort. I am not sure I have ever known a complete copy but have to admit that there is a garden or at least a courtyard at the Kingston Brew Pub, the family friendly pub with a solid oatmeal stout that both encouraged and justifies our thousand mile move to this town. But they have no china beer mugs. Now all I want in life is a china beer mug. Not another stein. Not pottery - actual china.