Beer & Cricket: An English Summer

Summer is upon us. Exams are finished, the weather is warm, and Crosslands is now full of the same wild eyed, frankly distressed looking people you saw in the library last month now shamelessly ordering several jugs of Pimm’s to themselves.

But for the English, more specifically Englishmen such as myself of the bumbling, inelegant variety, summer can frankly be a bit of a nuisance. How is one meant to enjoy oneself when ‘getting out of the cold’ is no longer a valid excuse to hide in the dingy corner of a pub and methodically try all the guest ales, when al fresco drinking means escaping irritating or awkward company on the pretext of a smoke break is no longer possible, and it’s ten degrees too hot to wear even a light jacket? What I’m saying is, how do you enjoy summer when you basically a massive nerd?

The answer is simple. Embrace it. You’re British for god’s sake. It’ll be raining again by Thursday, and you shouldn’t waste such a good opportunity to get some Vitamin D.

Seriously, you might even have things to look forward to:-

Kevin Pietersen’s not the messiah; he’s a very naughty boy. However, that won’t stop the England team from having a tough time of it against Australia this July & August without him. Still, it’s an Ashes summer, and one of the greatest accompaniments to hot, sleepy afternoons shall forever be the sound of Test Match Special. Whether you’re out for a picnic, having a barbecue, or just lazing about… flip on the radio. Nothing is more evocative of a British summer than the unadulterated Etonian eccentricity of Henry Blofeld drifting on the breeze, exclaiming delightedly that a blackbird has just landed at backward point.

Hell, drop in on the cricket yourself. The county season is now in full swing, and as excuses to get the boys together and start drinking at 11 in the morning go, it’s a bit of a cracker. Plus, you’ll get to see a full day of top notch sport, and wear a silly hat to keep the sun off of you. It’s pretty cheap and easy too. The rigmarole of club membership and extortionate prices that anyone who’s ever been to a Premiership football match will be familiar with is a world away here. Unless it’s a big Twenty20 match, you can basically turn up to the ground, paya decent price and go in.

Speaking of drinking, why not use the warmth to try some new beers? As the heat rises and all around you sip cider and predictable lagers, mix it up a little. If it really is boiling and you need that extra refreshment, there’s a world of interesting lager available to you. You really can’t go wrong with some of the crisp Czech lagers that are freely available, Staropramen and Budvar springing immediately to mind. Our American cousins also really have done rather well with the excellent Brooklyn and Yuengling Traditional lagers. Failing that, really any pilsner is a good call. Fizzy, with alcohol content that’s not too heavy, you’ll be able to drink all day and not get the dry and lightheaded feeling that other lagers can leave you with.

The last thing anyone wants to do in summer is stay pale, but that’s precisely what you should do with your ale. Keep it nice and malty; anything too hoppy will leave you feeling still thirsty. Pale ales are always fruity and zesty, meaning they’re more refreshing than their darker counterparts. This is embodied by the readily available Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, a beer that’s a great summer staple. Try to stay clear of darker IPAs, as although not a rule, they’re usually too bitter for consistent drinking in hot weather. Wells Waggle dance, brewed with honey, and St Austell Proper Job are also perfect.

So enjoy yourself. Get drunk. Sing Jerusalem. If you’re not judging people drinking Foster’s, and disputing obviously out LBW decisions from your patch of park grass, you’re really not doing it right.