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05-10-2016, 11:52
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This week sees the latest annual IndyManBeerCon (http://www.indymanbeercon.co.uk/) held in Victoria Baths in Manchester. Tempting as it might be, I have no intention of having a go at this, as Matthew Lawrenson of Seeing the Lizards fame has skewered it perfectly here (http://seeingthelizards.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/news-in-brief-55.html), and also here (http://seeingthelizards.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/news-in-brief-32.html) last year. But it must be said that it epitomises pretty much everything that passes me by in the world of beer and pubs – the relentless pursuit of extremes in strength, flavour and price, and the total disconnection from the experience of the ordinary drinker. It is the Beer Bubble encapsulated.
It’s hard to see that it has much, if any, connection with the world of National Inventory listings, cosy wood-panelled snugs, sleeping pub cats, Spoons vouchers, darts trophies, old boys’ banter, fish tanks, Draught Bass and OBB and boarded-up pubs. Not to mention sports TV and family dining!
I’ve argued here (https://pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/a-taste-of-tradition.html) that it isn’t reasonable to expect everyone to be interested in everything, even though an accusatory finger is often pointed in the direction of those who dare to yawn at the Latest Cool Thing. But it cuts both ways – recently I sang the praises of a wonderful traditional pub in Somerset (https://pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/a-true-thoroughbred.html), only for someone to complain that its beer range consisted of “four bitters”. The horror! And just imagine the existential crisis if expected to drink in a place that only offers one bitter (https://retiredmartin.com/2016/09/29/the-great-northern-a-tribute-to-luton/)!
So perhaps it would be best if the organisers admitted it was just a jolly for well-heeled middle-class crafties that really has no relevance to the experience of the ordinary pubgoer or beer drinker in Britain today, and certainly does not represent the vanguard of some revolutionary beer movement. Nothing against it, just not for me. And the question must be asked whether these two very different worlds can or should be accommodated within the same big tent.

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