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15-11-2014, 10:15
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Ed (http://edsbeer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/which-side-are-you-on.html) set the cat among the pigeons with his controversial (though he'd say tongue in cheek) post about the so called elitism of craft beer. There was a flurry of responses, probably by now not far short of 100 of them. I don't think it unfair to say that these generated more heat than light, but also a fair degree of exasperation. There is an amount of defensiveness in the crafterati and a large portion of doubtful economics on the side of those that think craft is overpriced for what it is. That generated a lot of passion, but you must pick the bones out of that yourself, though I do wish that craft aficionados would stop saying that it is worth paying "a little more" for "better beer". It is rarely a little more. It is a lot more. And it isn't always by any means better.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-cx0D388MsSg/VGchkZATCTI/AAAAAAAAF6Q/LA_abZOegd4/s1600/pint.jpg (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-cx0D388MsSg/VGchkZATCTI/AAAAAAAAF6Q/LA_abZOegd4/s1600/pint.jpg)In all this I would like to commend to you for consideration the words of Yvan Seth when he says "And hell, £1 more for keg because I don't have to play cask-quality-roulette and I can just get on with my drinking without the fuss of returning beer or putting up with a semi-drinkable pint. This is a point I have made before (hence my liking it), but it harps back to why keg was so welcomed in the 60's when cask quality was thought to be uniformly dire. It took the lottery away when purchasing a pint. This quality lottery goes a long way towards explaining why when I'm in London, I quite often end up drinking commodity lager. Yes I know where to get good beer, but despite the beer revolution in London, you still have to travel to get that good beer. Random decent looking pubs will often disappoint.

Then Yvan goes on to say something with which I more or less totally agree. It is worth repeating here:

"[IMO, if there is one thing CAMRA could *really* do for the future of cask ale, & the good of the cask ale drinker, it would be to drop most of what it does now and focus entirely on quality of beer at point of dispense. Because on average it is abysmal. This might even help save flagging pubs."

I have said until I'm blue in the face that quality at the point of dispense is cask beer's Achilles Heel. It might well be in an advanced state of decrepitude in London, but it has problems in cellar skills everywhere. We have all played the cask beer lottery and all lost. Yvan is absolutely right that CAMRA does not do enough about that. I'm not yet sure what that might be,but I'm thinking about it, but it shouldn't be that difficult to come up with something. After all it is the "raison d'etre" of the Campaign.

There are those that say the CAMRA battle has been won. Real ale is indeed everywhere, but as long as a quality pint remains elusive, CAMRA still has plenty to do. We need to fight the right fight though. Keg beer, in whatever form is not the enemy. Lack of quality cask beer at the point of sale is.
I watched Scotland win last night in my local London pub. My pint of Gales Seafarer (see above) was a warm, flat mess. I'd have had three or four pints if the beer was any good. I had one Gales and a pint of Becks, which was awful in a different way, but at least cold and with condition. Bad beer loses pubs money.

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