Sunday, 23 February 2014

Interesting times

The results of my poll on drinking “craft keg” beers are shown on the right. The general response was very positive, with almost a quarter saying they drank them regularly, and only 8% avoiding them on principle. Given that my usual haunts are family brewer tied houses, and Spoons, I answered “I’ll try them if I see them”. I actually had a half of Quantum American Amber the other night in the Magnet in Stockport – at a CAMRA branch meeting – and thought it was very nice. But it wasn’t something I’d want to drink numerous pints of.

The beer market is rapidly changing, and we are seeing developments such as Wetherspoon’s stocking American craft beer in cans that only a few years ago would have been unthinkable. Beer is now fashionable in a way that realistically it never has been during my drinking career – see, for example, this article in the Guardian. Even in the 1970s, when real ale enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, it wasn’t really cool. And there is a serious risk that CAMRA, effectively the only membership organisation representing beer drinkers, will end up looking as relevant as a closed and boarded estate pub.

17 comments:

Alan Jones said...

The poll missed out one important category: "I wouldn't know".

Although the difference between a hand pump and a tap should seem obvious, it's realistically only the real ale aficionado's who genuinely know it indicates a secondary brewing difference. For those of us who do know the difference but are in a round sat in a pub that serves both, we don't specify a secondary fermentation method (or absence of one) when sending a friend to the bar. "Something hoppy/portery/IPAy/bittery that I haven't had yet" will be as much as much instruction as I'll generally offer.

Cooking Lager said...

Beer may be fashionable but trying to be fashionable is so uncool. I found the coolest cats in beer piss artistry to be those odd ball social inadequates with the orange jerseys at beard festivals that have tankards on their belts. They may look odd, they may smell odd but they don't care and goddammit they are cool. Defining cool and not following it. Cooler than a bus of hipsters on its way to coolsville to see Steve McQueen give a lecture on cool.

py said...

I voted for "occasionally", because although I quite regularly go to pubs that sell craft keg stuff, I tend to go for the cask 75% of the time, simply because its cheaper and weaker and I have to drive home, and we tend to be blessed with good cask beer here in Cam.

I had a few pints of Thwaites Dark Creamflow on saturday, does that count as craft keg? It mainly seemed to be me and a handful of old blokes drinking it while the youngsters went for Red Bulmers.

ElectricPics said...

I had a few pints of Thwaites Dark Creamflow on saturday, does that count as craft keg?

I suppose it could do, compared to John Smiths smoothflow!

py said...

You've missed out an option on your PBA poll mudgie, because you're assuming that people care enough to pay attention to whether their bottled beers are brewery or bottle conditioned.

Curmudgeon said...

Even if people have no idea of the difference between brewery and bottle-conditioning they are still likely to say "I'm not having that crap again, it was cloudy and/or full of bits!"

Cooking Lager said...

Only the ignorami on trains say that, Mudge.

Barry said...

Surely Camra has already ceased to be relevant?

py said...

Its always going to be relevant, because it has lots of members and a huge national presence. The real question is whether it is a help or a hindrance to the cause of beer in general and cask ale in particular in the UK. The way it is run currently, it is definitely a huge hindrance. Its myopic, unreconstructed and fogeyish attitude probably puts more people off trying real ale than all other factors combined.

Curmudgeon said...

I think you exaggerate somewhat there, as I'd say what CAMRA says or doesn't say has very little influence on most people who drink real ale or beer in general.

And there are plenty of people in CAMRA who are not myopic, unreconstructed or hidebound.

py said...

Yes, there are plenty of sensible people, unfortunately there are also plenty of the unreconstructed type and they seem to have the monopoly on setting national policy - probably due to the intrinsic selection bias of only allowing people with the spare time and money to physically attend the agm to be allowed a say in shaping policy.

churchmousec said...

Sorry, but without a smoking section, CAMRA pubs (and their ilk) cease to be relevant.

Thanks, Mudgie (if I might call you that), for including me on your blogroll.

Churchmouse

churchmousec said...

And have now noticed the removal. It won't stop me citing your blog in future re pub closures.

Many thanks.

Best wishes

Churchmouse

Curmudgeon said...

I certainly haven't removed your blog - it's just that only the 5 most recently updated are displayed. Click on "Show all" and you will see it.

churchmousec said...

Okay, thank you for clarifying.

Apologies

Churchmouse

Jamie_t_83 said...

Im in the often category BUT they are often pretty dear when compared to their cask equivalent.

Ie ive had some magic rock and thornbridge at £3 cask yet the same beer (and on two occasions the same pub) at shy of a fiver

Rob Nicholson said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/10638933/Am-I-the-only-man-in-Britain-who-hates-craft-beer.html