View Full Version : Boak and Bailey's Beer Blog - Embracing Keg, Rejecting CAMRA, 1995

Blog Tracker
09-06-2014, 08:32
Visit the Boak and Bailey's Beer Blog site (http://boakandbailey.com/2014/06/embracing-keg-rejecting-camra-1995/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=embracing-keg-rejecting-camra-1995)

Boak & Bailey's Beer Blog - Writing about beer and pubs since 2007 (http://boakandbailey.com)
In 1995, a handful of Brits were beginning to get excited about American beer and, at the same time, rather irritated by the Campaign for Real Ale. The Grist began life as, to all intents and purposes, the magazine of SIBA, in 1983, under the editorship of Elisabeth Baker. In that incarnation, it focused largely on*offering technical advice to small brewers, and pre-Beer Orders policy propaganda.
By 1995, however, its ties to that organisation had been all but severed, and it was being edited by Alastair Hook, now best known as the founder of Meantime, but then head brewer at Freedom in West London.*Under his control, and,*later, that of his friend Peter Haydon,*The Grist*became more concerned with personalities and the passionate advocacy of ‘great beer’.
http://boakandbailey.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/grist_nov_dec_1995_cover.jpgThe November/December 1995 edition (No. 67) gives us a glimpse into a time*when more than one influential voice was beginning to advocate the quality of American beer and the benefits of ‘brewery conditioning’, while also criticising the Campaign for Real Ale’s dogmatism.*From*Hook’s editorial:
[Most American microbrewery] beer is brewery conditioned. It might be bottled or kegged, but always cold matured and filtered. The American micros know that without a consistent product there is no business… For hundreds of UK micros who fight to survive in a fiercely competitive market, producing beer that by its very nature is difficult to handle, the role of CAMRA is critical. It strikes me that unless CAMRA’s nonsensical opposition to the cask breather and blanket opposition to brewery-conditioned beers is reversed, the microbrewing industry will suffer chronically. The irony is that the micros are, after all, the greatest agent for the change and choice that CAMRA claim to desire.
Elsewhere in the same issue, Mark Dorber, then manager of the White Horse, also in West London, gave an account of the Great American Beer Festival XIV:
A tradition unencumbered by the ideological baggage of our ‘real ale’ movement appreciates quality in terms of flavour and absence of faults, as it should… Vibrant flavours stood out in many of the beers judged and sampled. (Alas, much of the UK brewing industry, by contrast, seems reluctant to offend any portion of the beer market with its bland {aka ‘balanced’} beers.)
A third article by Keith Laric (a pseudonym?) in the same issue lays into CAMRA’s ‘Cask Breather Hypocrisy’: “Perhaps we need to be less insular, and to look at the best European and American traditions as well.”
Just to make sure the point was absolutely made, Hook also gave over two-and-a-half pages to a piece on his own brewery venture, written by Peter Haydon, who said:
The American microbrewers were not able to produce cask conditioned beers when their revolution started. They produced keg beers of startling quality and sophistication that really deserve a different appellation. If a keg beer is produced by a brewer who wants to produce good, exciting beer, then there is no reason why such a beer cannot be produced… Keg beer is only bad when it is produced by accountants, or when it is masquerading as something else.
OK, we get the message!
Though the term ‘craft beer’ does not appear once in any of the articles — Hook uses the term (brace yourselves) “gourmet beer” — this particular issue of*The Grist suggests that the idea of a ‘third way’ that was neither ‘industrial fizz’ nor ‘real ale’ was fully formed*by the middle of the 90s.
Embracing Keg, Rejecting CAMRA, 1995 (http://boakandbailey.com/2014/06/embracing-keg-rejecting-camra-1995/)

More... (http://boakandbailey.com/2014/06/embracing-keg-rejecting-camra-1995/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=embracing-keg-rejecting-camra-1995)