Ale's well that ends well in beer bust-up

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 March, 1999, 12:00am

There was trouble brewing in Aberdeen yesterday morning.

An injustice had been perpetrated and a group of righteous men had joined forces to fight it.

Yes, Dragon's Back pale ale had been discontinued.

It seems the market slump drove the South China Brewing Company to abandon ale and throw their money into lager.

But they hadn't counted on a band of men willing to fight for what is good. For what is pure.

For what contains plenty of hops.

Their leader was beer writer Graham Lees, a man who has tasted victory in the past.

He was one of the four founding members of Britain's famous 'Campaign for Real Ale' almost 30 years ago.

Stout of heart and stouter of body, the anti-lager group wrestled ale back from the brink of extinction.

Today the group boasts 50,000 members.

Of course, the Dragon's Back battle was different.

'This is a much smaller campaign,' Mr Lees said. 'We're only talking about the loss of one beer.

'But that's one good beer in a sea of bland-tasting lagers.' Early afternoon found the beer's champions preparing to take on the Dragon slayers of Aberdeen.

Shades of Knights of the Round Table meets Bunch of Middle Aged Fat Guys.

'Beer is an emotive thing,' Mr Lees told Lai See.

'Beer evokes passion. It sustains people's anger.' With lunch time came the first volley of protest e-mails.

Mr Lees had contacted the ale faithful, urging them to 'save us from blandification'.

'Bombard the brewery with protests and appeals for the pale ale's reprieve,' he said.

'Enlist your friends to join this protest!' Their target, brewery representative Frank Abrecht, was bemused by the sudden flood of protests.

'It was interesting,' he said.

'A lot of people called us, and they were saying 'We love Dragon's Back! Please! Don't discontinue Dragon's Back!' 'So we said 'OK, fine'.' And that was that.

By 4 pm the battle was over.

The pale ale was resurrected, with lagers Stonecutters and Red Dawn placed on the chopping block in its stead.

'It's good to shake it up a little and frighten the people,' Mr Abrecht chortled.

Ah, Hong Kong customer relations.

Anyway, there you have it.

The beer fight's over and the Dragon's back.

We like GF Securities.

We may not know who they are, but we like them.

In the truth-economical world of stock broking, its so refreshing to stumble into an oasis of pure honesty.

The firm's China Daily ad entices clients with their text: 'Infinite Market Opportunities in Chinese B Shares. GF Securities welcomes investors!' This is illustrated with a picture of a share price graph.

Not for GF, the Hong Kong-style investment graph that climbs into space.

Their's shows a share diving from $140.95 to $21.24.

Male birth control research could be in hot water.

Australian researchers are trying to develop a tea that renders men temporarily infertile.

The Mangosteen leaf gives the brew its power, an Associated Press report says.

The extract promotes 'a sort of suicide in sperm cells', said Graeme Martin, who is leading the research at the University of Western Australia.

Javanese women were the first to use the Mangosteen tea to prevent pregnancy.

'They used to have a cup of tea for three weeks, by which time they'd be infertile,' Mr Martin said.

'So long as they kept drinking the tea they'd remain infertile.' So far, tests on rats show that sperm production is 'messed up' when the rats are given mangosteen extract, Mr Martin said.

But when the rats stopped eating the extract, sperm production returned to normal.

Human trials could start in three to five years.

If they're successful, men could prevent pregnancy by simply drinking tea before sex.

This worries Lai See.

We fear this will lead to more misunderstandings in the already wire-crossed world of male-female communications.

Lai See doesn't need her dates getting the wrong idea every time she invites them in for a cup of tea.


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