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14-06-2013, 15:24
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The lifetime of CAMRA has seen the history and development of real ale in general very thoroughly documented. But other aspects of the British beer market haven’t received anything like the same attention. A good example came up recently on Tandleman’s blog – which breweries used to produce tank beer (http://tandlemanbeerblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/getting-tanked-up.html), and when did it finally disappear from the market? Or is it still going in some obscure parts of the club trade?
Which of the early own-brand lagers were top-fermenting “bastard lagers” (Robinson’s Einhorn certainly was) and which were actually more genuine bottom-fermenters? And when did the once commonplace sight of half-pint/275ml bottles at room temperature on shelves behind the bar disappear, and when did the brands involved bite the dust? I vaguely recall Robinson’s dropping their own bottled beer range around 1990.
Maybe it’s areas like this that beer historians need to be turning their attention to in the future.
And, even looking at the current situation, five-sixths of the British draught beer market isn’t cask beer. Which brands does that cover, who brews them and where can they be found? Do they include some rare and threatened obscurities now confined to dingy working men’s clubs and forgotten council estate boozers? There’s a remarkable dearth of information on the subject in the public domain. Perhaps for a new challenge some geeks should venture into uncharted territory and become “keg tickers”.

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