Iwas browsing through the card selection in my local supermarket trying to find a suitable card for my Dad (it’s Father’s Day this weekend, a gentle nudge if you’ve all forgotten). The images on the cards neatly categorised fathers into a clearly defined set of cliches:
Sporty: Bloke on golf course in checked trousers striking the ball with club mid swing, or giant trophies being held aloft with a football/cricket bat/dart board in the background
Transporty: Happy chaps with vintage vehicles, steam engines, bi-planes, motorbikes and F1 racing cars
DIY-ers: power tools, hammers, half built sheds, and safety goggles
Beer Drinkers: (more of which later)
I noted there were no cards depicting my father’s more notable traits, for example, death stares at inappropriate clothing items, dragging daughters out of nightclubs at 3 o’clock in the morning (oh yes, it happened on more than one occasion to me) and turning up at school sports day dressed as James Bond. That’s a random selection of my own father’s behaviour.
So onto the drinkers. The most prevalent picture on all the cards, by far, was that of beer: in dimpled glasses, in pints and halves, in tankards, goblets and yards of ale.
Well, my Dad’s never been the sporty type, unless you count competitive lawn mowing. He’s not really a speed freak either, his pride and joy when we were kids was a clapped out VW Caravanette with a top speed of 43mph. And as for DIY, his heart’s in the right place, but he’s monumentally accident prone. He once chopped half his thumb off with an axe; he picked it up, drove himself to the hospital pronto (well, at 43mph) and asked for it to be sewn back on. His thumb has always been a bit wonky to this day.
Ultimately, it was a no-brainer to pick a Father’s Day card depicting beer.
My Dad has always been a beer drinker, and he always drinks halves. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him with a pint in his hand. I once asked him why he drank in half pints, and he said it was because he could honestly say to my Mum that he was “popping out for a half”. He never told her how many halves he had. There’s absolutely no logic in this whatsoever, but it seems to make sense to my Pa.
He’s also a lifelong stout drinker, buying into the claim that stout is ‘better for you’. That is, until I introduced him to this week’s beer, which is Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker. Stouts have roasted and toasted flavours, usually with an intense bitter finish, and Boltmaker has all these qualities, which is why I knew my Dad would like it.
Yes, he grumbled that it wasn’t a dark ruby red hue and it didn’t have the coffee chocolatey aromas associated with his beloved stout. But as the days are getting warmer, he conceded that it was like a ‘summer’ version of his favourite tipple. It did help that the beer name also sounds quite ‘manly’. I doubt I could have got him onto a beer called ‘Singer Sewing Machine’ or ‘Egg Whisk’.
Boltmaker is a burnished copper colour with a fruity nose and it goes with all the foods my Dad likes best: sausage & mash, traditional Roast Beef Sunday dinner, cheese & pickles. Me? I like it with a spicy chunky chilli, I think it’s got enough sweet malt to balance out the heat of the spices.
On Sunday, I will be hiding all power tools from my Dad, switching off Sky Sports and leaving the car at home. We’re off to the pub for a few halves of Boltmaker and a father/daughter bonding session over beer.