The sun is shining, the people are smiling and the weather is surprisingly sweltering for Northern England.
A tourist strolls into a bar to quench his thirsty throat with a refreshing beverage.
�Howday there!�, hollows the barman, � And welcome to the Engage Super League Bar. What are you having buddy?�
Choices, choices. Alien to most of the drinks on show, the tourist asks for some guidance.
�Well, we have a lot of Northern specialities here. First of all, here�s the Bradford Brew. This became increasingly popular in Yorkshire during the mid 90�s. The self proclaimed people�s beer. Had to be served in cans during the Octobers of 1999, 2001 and 2002 and the April of 2000 due to them losing their bottle. Once a powerhouse of the beer world but has recently lost the X factor that set it out from the crowd.�
�Next we have the Hull Homebrew, which has a growing number of fans. The company had some problems in the 90s but after years in the doldrums, there�s growing optimism that this beer will challenge the established ones for our prestigious Drink of the Year award�
�If you�re not bothered about where your beer has been brewed and in what conditions then the Wakefield Wildlager is for you. The brewery is stuck in the 50s but is produced by men who just love making their beer. Rose to prominence last year, reaching our Drink of the Year play-offs against all odds. This year�s product has been a bit hit and miss. Though when they produce a good one, there�s not many beers around that can surpass it.�
�The Wolf�s Bite has proved very popular this year after a slow start. It�s loved by drinkers, partly due to its large, loyal and passionate fanbase. Could be up for honours.�
�If beer isn�t your thing and you like a bit of tradition and history behind a drink then you can�t go wrong with the Wigan White Wine. A world famous tipple that won many awards in the 80s and early 90s. Many a famous expert in the wine field worked for this company. Although this did drive them to near bankruptcy and they had to sell their old vineyard. This lost them a lot of fans but trade has improved. State of the art vineyards and a rich backer have been wasted by poor management. The big under-achievers of the drink industry.�
�Want to go a bit crazy? Have a St.Helens Shot. Has been known to cause controversy for a variety of reasons and carries a public health warning due to many of its fans developing weak hearts over the years. But after a St.Helens Shot you�ll be in the mood for some entertainment. Always awesome up until May. Then the management and workers seem to get bored of producing top quality liquor and feel like imploding.�
�If you�re teetotal then we have soft drinks. The Leigh Lemonade is unfashionable but worth a try. Alcohol and sugar free, it�s shunned by many. Some of whom may enjoy it if they gave it a chance. A drink that cops a lot of flak but is still finding its feet at the top level of its industry.�
�The Vikings Vimto is rather like the above but with a bit more �zing�. Was a powerhouse of the soft drink industry in the 80s. Today, it�s a shadow of its former self after suffering bankruptcy in the 90s. May surprise you by being tasty about twice a year.�
�We also have the Salford Shandy, containing 5% beer, 55% lemonade and 40% froth. Not very glamorous but has surprisingly quenched people�s thirst more often than not this year. Not too popular over the years, though this may change in the future as they have plans to move to an exciting, new brewery. Should look to our Huddersfield Hopfbrau for inspiration.�
The tourist interrupts, �Have you not got any Southern beers?�
�We have the London Lager but the traditionalists here don�t want it. They see beer made outside the Northern Heartlands as inferior and a waste of money. So, what are you drinking?�
�Well�, he explains, �I�m only here because I thought it was the NRL Bar. I hear the beverages there are the benchmark and it�s always talked about across town. See ya later.�
�Wait!!! Next year, we�ll have French imports of Perpignan Pilsner in stock! They come with enthusiasm and guarnteed satisfaction!�
He sighs. Oh, to be an ESL bar manager.
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