Facsimile machines are another thing that baffles me, along with typewriters and steam engines. Although I'll admit that the romantic part of me does see the point of museum railway companies that are for the purpose of amusement for occasional family outings and something for well meaning enthusiasts to be enthusiastic about. However, having a father who is something of an over enthusiastic railway bore I tire very quickly of the noisy, dirty, inefficient modes of transport. I like to travel in comfort and speed these days.
Cask beer is of course a Great British tradition, but I do wonder if it is now being pushed beyond the scope of its very outdated method of dispense. Don't get me wrong, I do not wish to see its demise and hope that it will continue to be strong where it is well executed. But there are places that seem to feel the need to serve cask beer, and beer drinkers who are overly choosy due to, what I believe to be a misguided view, that cask beer is always better.
The number of times I have tried my beer, in two different venues, knowing full well that the beer is from the same gyle, racked on the same day, and delivered on the same run but the taste in the two pubs has been very different. It would be very easy to blame cellaring techniques. It would be easy to blame dirty lines, and sometimes these are the reasons. Sometimes however, it is simply down to the very real disadvantage of cask beer and the fact that pubs are urged to have it, even though they would be better with an alternative method of dispense for their micro-brewed beer.
I feel that some of the issues do make consumers quite sure that they "don't like bitter" and "I only drink lagers" when that same group, when faced with micro-brewed keg, irrespective of the beer style, are more likely to have a go. Distrust of handpulls, especially with younger demographics, is a problem that faces the microbrewery industry.
As we expand at Hardknott we have to make choices as to what technology is best for us to continue to invest in. We will have to increase our container population, our container washing throughput capacity and our racking facilities. Is it wise to continue to invest in cask equipment when the technology is outdated, the market is driven more by cost than quality and often portrays a quint, marginal and sometimes even amateurish marketing image?
The reader no doubt will have their own view.
1To be fair, although it was a typo, I can store information about milk too. Thanks Phil.