The best way to introduce Duff to you viz. English pubs is to read him for yourself. I’ll keep the comments to a minimum.
Probably strategically he chose the regional-based cider as a gastronomic subject vs. the ubiquitous beer, and devotes three pages to the Devon variety. Unlike many today, he did not fancy the “rough” (probably Brettanomyces-tinged) darkish farmhouse type and preferred a light sweet cider.
In this period, early-1950s, cider was, or so he says, untaxed, therefore variable in alcohol strength – it sounds the picture of the artisan product but available in different qualities.
Contrary to intuition, he quotes a local as saying cider is better now than it used to be – no misty Celtic romance here. We are not quite in the craft mindset yet, in other words.
He was impressed with how locals drank it – wisely, not getting off their head. It’s part of a picture of sane usage of drink encoded in the folk ethos, and quite different from the typical Victorian portrait as I discussed in the previous essay.
Hence, for cider with Charlie, see pp. 276-278.
For beer, he focus on pubs north of London and somewhat easterly (Herts and adjoining areas), you can read the account at pp. 310-312. Although focusing on this geographical area he states that pubs in most parts of England are similar.
He remarks mainly on architectural and historical features although in one instance mentioning the high quality of a tenant’s beer.
The main emphasis is on fellowship, community, and tradition – values numerous mid-century writers found in pub culture albeit invisible to most of their 19th-century counterparts, again.
He speaks of the pub as a valued centre for local people, in effect the common man’s club Ben Clarke wrote about as I discussed in Part I. He eulogizes the pub as perhaps the most characteristic institution of the English, high praise indeed, and an insight beer author Michael Jackson also expressed in his 1976 The English Pub.
Duff also foresees, in effect campaigns for, the full opening of the pub to women, including the country pub. He deprecates the old tradition of keeping them out of drinking places, “Puritan” he calls it. Here he shows the progressive nature of post-1920s British social studies, a trend only accelerated since in society.
Perhaps he lacks quite the feel for English pubs than he demonstrated for Irish ones, but that would be natural given his birthplace and upbringing.
All in all, the way he writes about pubs and drink could be published today, almost as is.
In the main, after 1945 the pub had arrived.