Even those people who profess to love beer, I've noticed, hesitate to drink it in a restaurant but it is one of the most effective ways of cutting the cost of eating out. True, not every restaurant has a decent beer list but they never will unless we beer-lovers press them to stock our favourite brews.
One of my new year's resolutions is to order beer rather than wine at every opportunity so I was pleased to get off to a good start with a bottle of Samuel Smith's Organic Best with the very tasty beef, carrot and pickled walnut pie I ordered at our local café. OK, a pie and a pint (or half a pint) is a predictable pairing but it was a deliciously fresh, hoppy brew - even at £3.50 a 350ml bottle, better value than the £3.75 they charge for a 175ml glass of wine. And, of course, twice the amount. You can buy it online for £1.55 a bottle from Vintage Roots.