Another royal wedding’s coming up this Friday. I care about it as much as the last one in 1981 — not one whit. In deference to my British colleagues and friends who cling to the notion that the royal family matters, I’ll spare you my usual diatribe. But it was announced recently that no beer will be served at the The Royal Wedding (with it’s own “official” website, how klassy) between Prince William and commoner — could there be a more insulting term to call someone to their face? — Kate Middleton.
That’s right, no beer at a British wedding. The reason, according to the Daily Mail, is that “while the younger royals enjoy a pint from time to time, neither Kate nor William is a big beer drinker so they decided to leave it off the menu.” Which is, of course, all well and good if you take the position that it’s their wedding, they can — and should — do as they like. Personally, I had my wedding reception in a brewery. And as British clergyman Sydney Smith quipped in 1934, “what two ideas are more inseparable than beer and Britannia?” So perhaps that makes more British than the man second in line to be king.
But, unlike my wedding or your wedding, this one hardly counts as a private affair, it’s a national event and should, I suspect, reflect the nation. At a time when British beer is suffering, pub closings are epidemic and neo-prohibitionists have their attack dogs out, you would think this might be a perfect time to celebrate the wedding with that most British of drinks, cask ale. But, no, apparently champagne is more to the liking of the royals, or at least the ones who planned the wedding. But here’s the part that should have every red-blooded Brit up in arms. This is the “official” reason given for the ban on beer at the wedding. “It is thought that guests knocking back pints of ale was considered rather unseemly for such a regal affair attended by royals and heads of state from around the world” or put even more bluntly by a Daily Mail source, “[l]et’s face it, it isn’t really an appropriate drink to be serving in the Queen’s presence at such an occasion.” Really, that’s the problem? That the Queen might object to the drink her people should be most proud of, that contributes greatly to her nation’s economy, and is enjoyed by the majority of her subjects being served at her grandson’s wedding? If the royal family was truly in touch with “their people,” I should think they’d come to a very different conclusion.
Their source added. “It was always their intention to give their guests a sophisticated experience and they have chosen the food and drink with this in mind.” And there the other shoe drops. Beer isn’t “sophisticated” enough for a royal wedding. Wow.
UPDATE: Pete Brown had a similar reaction to this news and wrote a post, Beer ‘Not Appropriate’ For Royal Wedding that made some similar points and then a great many more of them, all spot on. Though hilariously, you can see in the comments, there are many people who do think the royals are still above criticism and even that no one should use “bad” language when discussing them. Oh, dear, and we’re considered the provincial ones. Hilarious.
Luckily, Scotland’s BrewDog has just the thing for this sort of nonsense, a beer entitled Royal Virility Performance. With only 1,000 bottles to be released the day before the wedding, here’s how it’s described:
A limited-edition beer containing herbal viagra to mark the forthcoming royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29th. Brewed using various well known aphrodisiacs, the limited edition artisanal beer will only be available to buy from the BrewDog.com website.
According to the specially commissioned label, the Royal Virility Performance contains herbal viagra, chocolate, Goat Weed and ‘a healthy dose of sarcasm’. The beer is a 7.5% ABV India Pale Ale and has been brewed at BrewDog’s brewery in Fraserburgh.
With this beer we want to take the wheels off the royal wedding bandwagon being jumped on by dozens of breweries; The Royal Virility Performance is the perfect antidote to all the hype. A beer should be brewed with a purpose, not just because some toffs are getting married, so we created something at our brewery that will undermine those special edition beers and other assorted seaside tat, whilst at the same time actually give the happy couple something extra on their big day.