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29-04-2014, 08:50
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I mentioned here (http://tandlemanbeerblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/camra-agm.html) my preview of the CAMRA AGM and Member's Weekend. It turned out pretty uncontroversial really and even the Great Leader remarked that the number of motions that formed debate this year was small, though he didn't mention the quality, perhaps allowing that to speak for itself. The standard of debate nonetheless was high, with many talented speakers. I didn't like Scarborough much the last two times I've been and didn't like it any better this time either. Torrential rain on Friday got us off to a wet start and the pubs were just a bit too ordinary on the whole. The weather did improve though and I did have a superb curry and a lovely breakfast one day, but on the whole, I won't be looking back on it that fondly. I can't recommend the Travelodge for the comfort of its beds, but can highly recommend the staff. There's a tip for you.

My worries about Motion 11 were groundless. It was misguided in a somewhat obscure way, but was otherwise well meant. My Motion 9 was at least an interesting debate, despite it being defeated by almost 100 votes. To say I was misrepresented is an understatement. Despite making it clear that my concern was, that for cask beer, lack of information about whether a beer on sale should or should not be cloudy or hazy, could lead to both confusion and malpractice. I urged that the matter should be investigated to see if it was so and report back with findings and proposals. I made it clear - no pun intended - that it was entirely up to the brewer if he or she wished to produce beers that were intentionally cloudy or hazy, but that confusion was not in the interest of real ale and could be detrimental.

Opposition came from Brass Castle Brewery who spoke almost entirely about themselves and their preference for unfined beer. It was an impassioned piece of self advertisement, but nothing to do with the motion at all. Roger Protz further muddied the waters - pun firmly intended - and gave a rousing speech about innovation being stifled and listed a load of stuff going into beers that make make them cloudy and how British brewing was at the cutting edge with young brewers leading the charge. What I didn't pick up in my right of reply, but should have, is that almost certainly none of these beers he mentioned would be real ales or affected by what I proposed. I did refute most of it in my second speech, but did not win out. If you fail to get your arguments across, you lose. That's democracy. I'll keep my eye on this subject though.

So what do we make of this? I take the positive view that CAMRA diehards attending the conference were convinced that my motion was an attack on innovation and "craft" beer. They didn't want that. Those that think CAMRA is stuck in the mud should take heart.

I understand the Brass Castle only produce vegetarian (or maybe vegan) beers. I also noted that some of the beers served at the CAMRA AGM were served with the warning "Hazy". Make of both what you will.

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