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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More Synchronicity

Last night, Sally and I shared one of the last bottles of beer I toted back from Europe--Worthington White Shield. Unless you read English blogs, there's little chance you've heard of this beer (though I did write about it once). I love this beer and I've been reluctant to drink it, but I was also determined not to let it go stale--a character flaw of mine.

The occasion was a screening of The Sweeney, a television show you're even less likely to have heard of. Sally and I were turned onto it after watching the English original of Life on Mars. (Which, if you haven't seen it, I can't recommend highly enough. The first season--sorry, series--I would place among the ten best ever made for broadcast.) The character Gene Hunt, one of the indelible figures in television, was modeled on DI Jack Regan. Both are boozing, corrupt, manly figures who seemed to have completely died out by about 1983. In any case, Netflix finally made a few discs available, and it seemed like a nice pairing.

And then, about half-way through the episode, there's a bar fight and the shot flashes on Regan (it's a little convoluted to explain why he's standing in a bathrobe in the middle of a bar fight--but it does give you a sense of the show's flavor) standing in front of ... a Worthington mirror. Amazing.

So anyway, today I'm thinking very deeply about money and later I'm going to go buy a lottery ticket.


  1. Not really surprising: it's long been one of the big English brands. MolsonCoors still makes a shitty keg bitter under the Worthington brand, as well as the fantastic stuff like White Shield from the new William Worthington brewery.

  2. I am delighted you have been watching the Sweeney. A wonderful glimpse of 1970s London and there's usually a pub or two in each episode.

    But, wait... there are people who don't read British beer blogs!?

  3. I haven't heard of The Sweeny, which is odd considering how many British shows I already watch. Did you find that on disc or Netflix instant que?

  4. I drank/enjoyed Worthington E bitter in pubs and in cans in Yorkshire in the 1980s and 90s. Memory has that it was brewed at Tetley's in Leeds late in my experience.

  5. Adding "The Sweeney" and "Life on Mars" to my Netflix queue. Were you aware that Rankin's Rebus is also on Netflix?

  6. One of may favourite Sweeney Episodes that!

  7. Ah, beer and television, for me the classic combination (considering I write books on both).

    Jack Regan is one of UK TV's greatest creations, and White Shield (forget everything else with the Worthington name on) is the great survivor among bottle-conditioned ales. We have loads of bottle-conditioned beers now, but not so long ago (in Jack Regan's time), WWS was, along with unpasteurised bottled Guinness, the only beer you could buy nationally that re-fermented in the bottle. It's great to see it surviving and being helped by Coors.

    By the way, you'll know that Regan's partner was Carter, a cause of great mirth during the 1980 US presidential elections.

  8. Jon, it's not streamable. You have to go old school and get the plastic.

    Ted, yes, I've watched both Rebuses. I'm more of a John Hannah man, but I think Stott is more popular.

    IB, I wasn't aware of the Jimmy-George Carter connection. But I was 12.

  9. The two Sweeney films are two f my favourite films. They show the warts and all of British policing in the seventies. John Thaw (Jack Regan) is sadly missed.

  10. Life on Mars is terrific. Love the guv. One of my favorite moments is when he takes one (a shot) to the chest. Fortunately, the bullet is stopped by a flask.

    One of his underlings looks at him and asks, "What were the chances."

    "Pretty good," says the guv, as he pulls two more flasks from his inner coat pockets.

    That recollection may be a little off, but you get the idea. Must see The Sweeney.

  11. Some whispers of a suggestion that WWS may be released in Canada. Molsons, after all, owns half the country.

  12. Worthington White Shield, brewed under license by King and Barnes was imported into the US back in the late 1990's by Noble Union out of Texas. I bought cases of it in Pennsylvania but never found it in NJ - so I'm not sure how well distributed it was at the time.

    According to the TTB, MillerCoors received label approvals for both White Shield and Red Shield back in January.