Charrington’s Bi-Centenary Ale

I found a bottle of beer. Charrington’s ‘Bi-Centenary Ale’. It must have been granddad’s.

My grandmother has moved into sheltered accommodation, and we’ve been clearing out her place. There is a certain type of china that is only ever found in old ladies’ houses and, boy, I now have plenty to spare.

Finding the beer was a bit of a shock. Granddad passed away twenty-five years ago, for a start, and this had been sitting on a shelf undisturbed and unopened since then. When you also take into account that the bi-centenary of Charrington’s brewery was, in fact, in 1957, this gives you one hell of a historic pint.

It’s miraculous it survived. Not that it didn’t get chucked away or knocked over or whatever, but… well – to put it tactfully – I get the impression that bottles of beer didn’t stay unopened around my granddad for long.

He was an interesting character. A granddad less like the popular Clive Dunn model would be difficult to find. Although I do think the song and TV show would have been improved immensely, had it been performed by a hearty, robust, red-faced Australian. With two false legs.

People say I look a bit like granddad, and I’m not sure how to take that.

Anyway, I took the bottle of beer. I thought I’d bring it back here, and drink a toast to him. I’d then keep the bottle as an ornament. I didn’t particularly expect the beer to be drinkable, but I was interested to see.

It would have been very moving, had the bottle not emptied itself all over the boot on the journey home.

Forty-seven years that bottle lasted intact. Now my car stinks of yeast.

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