Very often at the Fringe one can feel short changed by titles; titles that promise this or that and yet deliver so pitifully little. However, it’s a joy to report that Four Beers and a Burger definitely does live up to its title. One receives four delicious though varied and interesting beers made by independent brewers Knops, and one big juicy burger. To top it all off the whole thing happens in the Signet Library, a venue that makes Versailles look like a council estate from the fifties that’s been blown up by the council.
I learnt a lot about beer, but I soon forgot it all. It might have been interesting but that didn’t matter.
The evening begins with a rather informal talk from Bob Knops as to the history of his career and his company. His is a lovely story was told with wit and enthusiasm. In it we get to hear words like ‘flocculation’ (I've looked it up and I still don’t know what it means) and charming stories like how a rogue trader watered down his beer many moons ago and instead of being chided he was congratulated on coming up with a crisp new beer. As we take these interesting digressions down the history of beer we are encouraged to drink Knops’ own brand beers. These are California Common, Musselburgh Broke, India Pale Ale and Black Cork. Everyone had their favourite and indeed heated, though sometimes slurred, conversation broke out as people debated whether the refreshing hops of India Pale Ale worked better than the thick malty flavour of Musselburgh Broke. The argument ended when by the fourth beer everyone forgot how the other three tasted.
The arrival of the burger, though not exactly punctual, was most heartily welcome. In big sweet brioche buns lay a thick scrumptious slab of meat with a healthy dollop of cheese and intriguing chutney. These were gobbled up by men and women who had forgotten how hungry they were and were grateful that someone reminded them.
I learnt a lot about beer, but I soon forgot it all. It might have been interesting but that didn’t matter. What does matter was the fine food and fine drink culminating in a thoroughly enjoyable evening.