Last week, someone (in this blog's comments section, I believe) recommended that we read Belloc's The Four Men while hoisting a tankard. "Splendid suggestion," I thought, so I plucked it off the shelf and read from it last Sunday. The very first sentence made me pause:
Nine years ago, as I was sitting in the "George" at Robertsbridge, drinking that port of theirs and staring at the fire . . .
"Drinking that port of theirs." The folks at Robertsbridge must've made their own port, as I'm supposing many inns did back then. They probably also made their own beers.
Within thirty years of Belloc's death, such a thing was virtually unheard of. One didn't go to a bar "to drink that port/beer of theirs." You drank the same thing everyone else across MTV land drank: Swiller Lite, Crapweiser, and the other mass-advertised brands. Today, that's changing. Microbrews dot the land. One is even going up in my fairly dry home town (though my preview of their beer was not pleasant). The microsbrews are a slice of distributism, and they're taking a bite out of Grudge (or is it Hudge?) breweries. Be a good man: Visit a microbrew this weekend, buy a growler, and toast Belloc's memory repeatedly.