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Thread: Real Ale & Interest In Pubs: The Link

  1. #1
    Real Ale Drinker HTM69's Avatar
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    Default Real Ale & Interest In Pubs: The Link

    Unless any lager-lovers suddenly decide to crawl out of the woodwork, I have long been under the impression that the majority of us here are all real ale aficionados. I have often wondered if there is a link between those who drink ale and those who have a genuine love and affection for the public house. And I think there is. You see, as ale drinkers, we have to take a little more care in our drinking surroundings. Despite a seeming increase in the number of outlets selling cask-conditioned beers, as enthusiasts, I feel we take a little more note and care in deciding where we drink. It seems to me that with interesting beer selections comes more interesting pubs. We tend to visit a wider selection of establishment to satisfy our love and as a result, we start to pay more of an interest in the hostelry we happen to be supping in. With lager drinkers and this is the prime reason as to why they seems less interested in where they choose to drink they get the same everywhere. As a result, there is a lessened chance of them seeking out pubs other than the handful they would usually socialise in. We ale-drinkers like variety. And with enjoying a variety of ales, comes enjoying a variety of pubs.

    Am I on the right track, here?

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    Former Pubs Galore Coder
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    I do think there are also foodies, although not so much on here.

    Like your theory though, makes a lot of sense to me.

  3. #3
    Fully paid up beer belly Farway's Avatar
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    I think there is also a generational aspect to this as well, older drink ale, younger drink keg / lager / alcho pops etc. Thus pubs tend to cater for their target audience, which often includes the foodies Conrad mentioned

    Foodies & ale fans will not normally tolerate loutish behaviour, poor service and the like, thus the more interesting or unusual pubs mostly have publicans who have similar tastes & low tolerance of chavviness

    The opposite is true of drinking parlours catering for yoof element, as their bread is buttered on the other side to ours

    However, it does depend where you live I guess, if only a choice of two pubs in a town then it is Hobson's choice for the most part. My local town is an example of this

  4. #4
    Real Ale Drinker Crossste's Avatar
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    Agree 100%, especially on the variety. Well said that man.

    Different traditional real ale in different traditional pubs.

  5. #5
    Old & Bitter oldboots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HTM69 View Post
    I have often wondered if there is a link between those who drink ale and those who have a genuine love and affection for the public house. And I think there is. You see, as ale drinkers, we have to take a little more care in our drinking surroundings. Despite a seeming increase in the number of outlets selling cask-conditioned beers, as enthusiasts, I feel we take a little more note and care in deciding where we drink. ......We tend to visit a wider selection of establishment to satisfy our love and as a result, we start to pay more of an interest in the hostelry we happen to be supping in........
    Am I on the right track, here?
    Yes I would agree that in general people who are real ale drinkers will care about the kind of pubs they use, they will probably care about the kind of food they eat as well (real sausages, real bread, free range eggs etc). And yes some of us real ale drinkers do tend to seek out different pubs although many will drink constantly in the same pub especially if the beer range changes, after all why go elsewhere when you can combine the best of a local with adventures in beer tasting?

    Quote Originally Posted by HTM69 View Post
    It seems to me that with interesting beer selections comes more interesting pubs.
    There may be a chicken and egg situation here, good ale is quite often sold in the more unspoilt and older styled pub, which is my prefered type of drinking place - my personal view is that pub design peaked in the 1890s and that it was poor but interesting before and all downhill afterwards with the odd Art Deco gem. BUT for every Philharmonic or Black Friars there's somewhere like the Bree Louise. We used to say "the best beer was sold in the grottyest pubs" and I find it's still true to some extent, mainly in that the posher or more food oriented places have mediocre beer.

    Quote Originally Posted by HTM69 View Post
    With lager drinkers and this is the prime reason as to why they seems less interested in where they choose to drink they get the same everywhere. As a result, there is a lessened chance of them seeking out pubs other than the handful they would usually socialise in. We ale-drinkers like variety. And with enjoying a variety of ales, comes enjoying a variety of pubs.
    The appeal is exactly that - consistancy - "they", meaning most drinkers, like a beer that always tastes the same, because the beer is of secondary importance to them as long as it tastes ok and contains alcohol, they will use a pub for a range of reasons, they like the atmosphere, their friends all use it, etc etc etc. ROBCamra and I were recently accosted in a very fine ale house by a git who couldn't understand the concept of having a choice of beers. Not all ale drinkers like variety either I know of people who always drink the same real ale - sometimes it's even John Smiths Cask. When I was a lad I spend most of my drinking time in the same pub and almost always drank the same beer, this was the 70s of course and I didn't have the choice or transport I have now. A lot of people will think it strange that there are people who constantly use different pubs, "why can't you find one you like and stick to it?"


    Quote Originally Posted by Farway View Post
    I think there is also a generational aspect to this as well, older drink ale, younger drink keg / lager / alcho pops etc. Thus pubs tend to cater for their target audience, which often includes the foodies Conrad mentioned

    Foodies & ale fans will not normally tolerate loutish behaviour, poor service and the like, thus the more interesting or unusual pubs mostly have publicans who have similar tastes & low tolerance of chavviness

    The opposite is true of drinking parlours catering for yoof element, as their bread is buttered on the other side to ours

    However, it does depend where you live I guess, if only a choice of two pubs in a town then it is Hobson's choice for the most part. My local town is an example of this
    Real ale makes up about 10% of the beer market I believe, so I don't think it's generational although you may be able to make some generalisations about Real Ale drinkers,

    • they will be mostly male
    • they will be of all ages but younger people will drink a range that includes real ale, older real ale drinkers tend to stick more to ale with the occasional wine and the odd spirit rather than mix and match. However I know some real ale drinkers do drink nothing else.
    • they are more likely to be middle class


    Most middle aged and older men I know drink lager or smooth, but very few younger men drink smooth. The choice of pub/club/bar is generational, when you're twenty-something your requirements are a bit different to when you're forty or fifty something. I think that fashion and peer group conformity play a big part as well. One of the sad things of the last 20 years is that a lot of younger people don't want to mix with anyone outside their own age group and so get very parochial and narrow minded - the old man's pub syndrome. Pubs are a business and have to chase the punter's pound so they have to offer what the public will buy, hence target audiences which I think is not part of the pub ethos of "open to all".

    The death of the pub or otherwise has been a topic on a number of blogs recently, Pencil & Spoon, Tandleman, Pub Curmudgeon and Cooking Lager all make interesting comments, including that provocative supermarket lager drinking tosser.

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    This Space For Hire gillhalfpint's Avatar
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    I love my real ale, but also love looking round the pubs I go to. I am not as eloquent as some on here, and have written up a few Cornish pubs tonight and followed someone who is a very prolific - think thats right - writer, and I enjoy reading such reviews.

    I got hold of a map of Cornwall and highlighted all the places with Good Beer Guide pubs, then marked the ones I hadn't been to before. I know some of them will only have Sharps, Skinners, St Austell or a combination of the three, but I get to some lovely locations, and rarely find a place with no bus available - apart from Blisland which has to be done by car.

    I know some folk who stick with a particular beer, one always goes to the one pub as it serves Landlord for example, but I love variety in both pubs and beer. When asked what my favourite beer is, I have to say I'm still looking, and enjoying the process!

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    Pussy Galore No 1 Oggwyn Trench's Avatar
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    I think you have to remember as well that back when i started drinking back in the early 80s , real ale was pretty thin on the ground , all we had round here was the appalling Wem Ales and the odd pub serving Bass or Tetley so searching out pubs that served decent beer became part of the culture for us , regular trips into the wilds of Shropshire are still fondly remembered , discovering Hook Norton Beers at the fantastic George and Dragon in Much Wenlock and the Home brews at the Fox and Hounds at Stotessdon(sadly missed) and Three Tuns at Bishops Castle may not sound that exiting today but back then it was wonderfull
    Theres a Man with a Mullet going Mad with a Mallet in Millets !

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    This Space For Hire Rex_Rattus's Avatar
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    An interesting debate you've started here, HTM. I pretty well agree with what everyone has said, and I think what has come over loud and clear is that the vast majority (if not all) the forum contributors are real ale drinkers. There is a balance to be struck between good pubs and good ale. We want both of course, and in London anyway (which is the only place whose pubs I know well, if at all) there are many places where we can have both. But I will go to places where I can have one but not the other - using the two Louises as an example, you wouldn't go to the beer canteen that is the Bree Louise for a traditional pub experience, and I certainly don't go to the Princess Louise for the ale choice or quality. And I do like going to different pubs just to see what they're like, as I wouldn't want to confine myself to just one or two - because I can indulge myself in this way in London, although I realise that some others don't have the opportunity. I believe that there are lots of us who think the way I do.

    Another thing I've noticed is that the number of reviews is heavily balanced in favour of real pubs. Any number of times I've searched an area to reveal a couple of dozen drinking establishments, and noticed that over half are still virgins, but looking closer I've seen that all the Red Lions, Nag's Heads and White Harts have been reviewed, but that all the virgins are Zongo's Bar, Natalie's Bar and Grill and other ridiculously named characterless high street bars. So, I think HTM is spot on when he says that good pubs and good ale generally do go together, and that is exactly what the users of this site seem to be interested in.

  9. #9
    I'll stay on me own Andy Ven's Avatar
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    Maybe we become more discerning with age. Oggwyn referred to the availability of real ale in the 80s. It seems to have a far greater presence now even compared to 2 years ago and in tandem with that, CAMRA membership has not only beaten their target of 100,000 members it has smashed it with about 140,000 members nationally now.

    I don't think that the phenomenon is limited to traditional pubs either. There are a lot of modern, contemporary bars selling a decent choice of real ale and not forgetting JD Wetherspoon responding to and promoting its popular appeal. It's a good thing in my opinion and I hope it helps the long-suffering pub trade. I hope that it keeps going and that it's not just a flash in the pan.

    Death to the smooth pours!
    Waes hael!

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    RR's mention of the other sort of pub does put me in mind of Sports bars that you can go to and watch whilst enjoying(?) a lager. An effort that will become popular over the Summer I am sure.

    I agree that the reviewers of the site are heavily RA biased. I do wonder if some of the random viewers are looking for this sort of information though, that point I should add is more to do with me trying to think of revenue ideas for the site.

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