I have, like many other beer enthusiasts, been watching Oz and James. I think it is overall very good and a great boost for the beer industry in the UK. It's about time the subject was given more mass media coverage. Surprisingly for me I haven't shouted at the television once.
There have been a few criticisms of the series. Jeff Pickthall points out that they put down all lager. Which is a good point Jeff makes, although to be fair lager is not a British drink. Ron gets quite upset about the inaccuracies over the history of stouts and porters. I suspect quite rightly.
Roger Protz is somewhat annoyed about the complete cold shoulder given to CAMRA and Jeff Pickthall picks up on this. It is now starting to intrigue me that the words "real ale" don't appear much in the programs at all. I do wonder if the BBC have concerns over the image the product group portrays.
On Tandleman's blog and Boak and Bailey's blog there are some lively discussions about cask conditioned beer. I have enjoyed tremendously the passonate arguments that have been put across. Being an enthusiastic real ale licensee I both support CAMRA but also worry about their real potency. I think the discussions that are going on are very helpful.
It leaves me to wonder what Oz and James are going to declare as the drink that really does speak for Britain. It's going to be beer, right? But will it be cask conditioned beer, real ale, handpulled or whatever you want to call it? Or will it just be beer? Or perhaps gin or whisky has some claim to the throne due to a royal connection in the distant past.
For me I would have to say it should be cask conditioned beer. It is THE traditional drink of the UK. Like wine is to the French, vodka is to the Russians and perhaps pilsner is to the Czechs. Whatever, I think Oz and James seem to think the answer is worth making into a cliff hanger for the final program.
It's becoming common to run polls on blogs these days. Not wanting to be left out of the game I thought I'd see if we can correctly guess, just for fun, the conclusion of the drink for Britain series.