The Saturday Miscellany: Craft beer tasters; how to be a one-outfit guy; Jonathan Ross' worst meal


THE DIGESTED FAD: Pint tasting

By Oscar Quine

"Eh garçon, gerrus a pint." An unlikely phrase but one that soon, for better or worse, may become a reality. The craft beer movement currently holding Britain in its hoppy/malty/hint-of-barley grip, has brought with it a distinctive overtone of sommelier douchery (or, doucherié). "Would you like to try your beer before you buy?"; "Um, OK...".

Some establishments are more forceful than others, positively insisting their clientele imbibe a whole snifter's worth of their selected ale before allowing them a real, full-sized adult's portion. "Yes, yes, that tastes fine to me; I'm pretty sure I can handle a whole one..."

Faintly irritating – particularly if there's an antsy booze queue forming behind you – but it does bring you a little closer to value-for-money for that £5 pint. And with some convincing indecision and feigned interest, this new taster culture offers the charming skinflint a chance to get lathered up pour gratis. Disdain for this practice may also extend to mini-beer platters (as pictured). Save the tasting menu for The Fat Duck, rather than the Dog & Duck.

HOW TO: Be a one-outfit kind of guy

Breakfast meeting, presentation, dinner date, pub with mates... but just one outfit? Fear not, Dan May, Style Director at Mr Porter is on hand:

"An unstructured blazer is a great foundation to any outfit and can instantly smarten up a chambray shirt and chino, or when required can add a more casual edge when worn with a smart shirt, tie and trousers."

"A knitted tie is an essential and works well in the office, adding a bit of texture in place of a more formal neckwear. But it also works off-duty and adds the right touch if going for dinner or on a date."

"Navy chinos work well for business but also look great worn with a grey marl sweatshirt and sneakers. An essential item in any man's wardrobe, just make sure you invest in a slim-fitting pair as they work best as all-rounders."

The one-question interview. This week: Jonathan Ross

Q: What was the worst meal you've ever eaten?

A: It was at a service station coming back from the West Country. I was absolutely starving and they had no hot food. All they could offer me was a reheated mushroom stroganoff. It was absolutely revolting.

Jonathan Ross hosted Eat Film as part of this month's London Restaurant Festival;


By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. I've just been made redundant. Can I use this as an excuse to get out of buying my niece a wedding gift?

A. Absolutely! And congrats on finding the bright side! Write the happy couple a heart-felt card instead and if they respond with compassionate understanding make a note to buy them something when times are good again.

@MsEllen E Jones