Where’s the larder?

I’ve just had a pint of good English beer with my meal. As one does from time to time.

It’s a premium beer with a great flavour. But not, alas, at its very best. In this season, my kitchen – in common with the rest of the flat – is rather too warm. English beer is famous for being “warm”, but that really just means warmer than refrigerated, not summer temperatures. My kitchen in winter keeps beer at an excellent temperature. Alas not in summer, and keeping it in the fridge is no solution, because that’s far too cold for English beer to retain any decent flavour. That’s one reason I drink more Weizenbier in summer: it’s great to drink well chilled on a hot day.

Traditionally, the right place to keep English beer is a cellar, but ever fewer of us have any such thing these days.

All of which reminds me of the time in Italy, when I had to replace the fridge/freezer provided by my then-landlord, after it had packed up once too often. I went to a big superstore selling lots of white goods, to take a look at what was available. What I picked up had not just fridge and freezer sections, but a third compartment which was kept at about 12°, notionally for fruit and veg in the Italian summer. Great – in that climate, a larder was really useful!

With our English summer, it’s less necessary than in Italy for our fruit&veg – though it would nevertheless be nice. But a store at 12° would be ideal for English beer, too.

Why don’t we see those 3-compartment fridge/freezer/larders here in the UK?

Posted on June 1, 2008, in beer, food, uk. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Back in the “olden days”, before refrigerators were common, they used to build houses with larders. My family house here in Tavistock is about 50 years old and whilst the kitchen (which is the well-worn original) is certainly past its best and due for replacement, the larder with its airbrick and slab will remain. It’s good for storing wine as well as beer and vegetables, and meets your specification admirably.

  2. Evaporative cooling – if it is good enough for the wine snobs it should be good enough for your beer.

    Although probably not so good this week with such high humidity, generally in the summer it is an excellent and ‘reasonably environmentally’ sound cooling option – at least in Devon where water is plentiful (if somewhat expensive).

  3. Simon – good enough, very likely. Fast enough, nope. The point about a larder (or cellar) is to store it there, so it’s at the right temperature when it’s wanted and doesn’t need me to do something.

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