The Bitter End?

Despite the drop in temperature over the last few days, we still seem to have a huge amount of slugs in our garden – easily enough for a large family of hungry hedgehogs to consider it an ‘all you can eat buffet’. While our closest relatives in the animal kingdom might be chimpanzees, we do share a few traits with the common or garden slug; one of these is a fondness for a glass of beer.

At Best of British Beer, we are always keen to promote responsible drinking; however we don’t extend this advice to gastropods and we’re glad their liking for a beer can get them into a lot of trouble. The beer trap has to be the simplest way of keeping the slimy characters off your cabbages. To make your own Slug Pub, simply bury a glass jar in the soil and half fill it with beer. The slugs will sniff the brew, slither over to it and plop into the liquid, never to be seen again. At least they will die happy !

Inspired by a recent conversation with Kieran, our chemistry graduate Warehouse Manager, I thought I would try a little experiment with a few bottled beers.  I didn’t really associate slugs with having a sense of taste, so I wasn’t sure if giving them a choice of beers in which to meet their maker was worthwhile. In Jar A I poured half a pint of a well-known refreshing Dutch lager. To Jar B I added a generous measure of cheap, mass produced no nonsense bitter. As I was drinking my new favourite bottled beer, Cleric’s Cure from The 3 Tuns Brewery in Shropshire, I decided to spare a (very) small amount for Jar C.

I declared my Slug Pubs open before retiring to the lounge with what was left of my Cleric’s Cure to let nature take its course overnight. In the morning I checked to see which beer had been the most popular amongst our slimy clientele and to see if I could apply for a grant for further chemical research. The scores were 5 for the foreign lager, 2 for the pasteurised bitter and not a single visitor to my real ale pub. My conclusion therefore is that while slugs have not woken up to the quality of British beer, foreign mass produced lager does indeed refresh the pests other beers cannot reach.

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