Wednesday 14 January 2015

Tramp Juice News

The sad story of Carlsberg Special Brew - from artisan lager crafted to please Churchill to 'tramp juice' crafted to please park-bench drunks, and now facing a cut in its legendary potency - brought back some memories. Among the many phases of imbecility through which I passed in my youth was one in which I regarded alcohol as an inferior drug whose only use was to get you drunk, preferably very drunk very fast. Naturally I took to Special Brew as the proverbial fish to water - and in those days it still seemed almost classy (I think this was before they started canning it and it was only available in bottles in pubs). I barely remember what the stuff tasted like, perhaps because, for obvious reasons, I remember almost nothing of the occasions on which I drank it. I do however remember concluding that the one thing worse than a Special Brew hangover was a Tennants Super hangover - a tip I pass on to anyone thinking of taking up superstrength lagers while they're still available.
 Happily Carlsberg still produces another high-strength lager whose image hasn't suffered the same sorry fate as Special Brew. This is Elephant Beer - and when I last had a bottle (when the alcohol level was still 8pc - it's now 7.2), I found it very drinkable, with a pleasing kick. Here's a celebrity endorsement extraordinaire by my exact contemporary Tom Waits. He was 26 when this was recorded, though his voice was already half a century older. Here's to swimmin' with bow-lgged women...


  1. An integral part of the rite of passage Nige, added piquancy given if the stuff was quaffed whist smoking Balkan Sobranie and listening live to the Animals. One poor chap of my acquaintance, a trawler skipper, returning to his vessel, after a night of the above, missed the gangway and had to be retrieved from the river, still plastered.

  2. Aah Balkan Sobranie - another instant portal to the past...