Monday 30 November 2009

Beer Enthusiasts, That's All

There has been quite a lot of talk lately about the relevance of beer that is not real ale. Starting of course with CAMRA sticking to it's principles over extraneous gas. Real Ale Reviews talk about an as yet fictional beer festival that embraces all types of quality beer. I think that would be fun.

Mark at Pencil and Spoon talks about a Campaign for Great British Beer. There seems to be a growing enthusiasm for something, but what? Of course, perhaps we don't need anything. We have a great on-line community already enthusing about beer.

There is a lot of infighting in the industry. Pete Brown complained about it a little while ago. I talked about the same subjects recently, which brought out suggestions for forming some type of society that might take care of beer, just beer, in every form it took. Is this possible? What would be the aims of such an organisation? Do we really need one? What would be it's name?

I like the idea and would be keen to be involved, but if the promotion of good beer is the objective then what beer do we cite as unworthy? What I think is rubbish might well be another man's nectar. Equally, I know for a fact that there are beers out there that I like and others think are "style over substance".

The only real advantage of an all encompassing organisation, apart from providing a unified front against the demonising of beer, might be to organise eclectic, all embracing beer festivals. Beer festivals for Beer Enthusiasts, That's All. B.E.T.A. beer festivals if you like.


Curmudgeon said...

Adrian Tierney-Jones recently visited the St Austell beer festival which included a fair number of beer styles other than cask and sounded like an enjoyable event.

Mark Dredge said...

I like the idea of a Great British Brewers Association, similar to the US one which is run by the brewers. It'd be a group who stand for everyone else and champion great beer, lovingly made, whatever style it is or dispense it has. It's just about the beer.

Anonymous said...

A couple have stopped going into my local because they have replaced Carling with Carlsberg. Takes all sorts I suppose.


Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

Could a commenter suggest a decent beer served from a keg? I'll go and try it, and then see what I have been missing with my cask-only ways.

Rob Sterowski said...
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Unknown said...

Curmudgeon, thanks, I scan read that one because I thought it was just about another festival. It's clearly not just another festival.

Mark - I'd have thought that's what SIBA could have been. Unfortunately it has turned from Small Independent Brewers Association to the Society of Independent Brewers where the larger brewers within slag off the smaller ones. The acronym is now not valid and a friend of mine recently suggested it should mean Society for Increasingly Bizarre Acronyms. They have gone the way many organisations go - get bigger to be better, and then fail in it's original plan.

Washy, but everybody knows Carlsberg is more classy than Carling, or was it the other way round, I forget.

Brian, YES! that's the point. A chance to try anything. Decent beer is the point. There are many beers from Belgium or USA for instance that are served in various ways that might be prevented from being selected for some beer festivals. That does not mean that you would like them and if you didn't and there would also be a wide selection of cask. Something for everyone.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Brian, here are a few:
• Schiehallion or Bitter and Twisted, widely available on keg in Scotland
• Fullers London Porter, which most beer fans actively prefer on keg vs cask if given a straight choice
• Paulaner Lager, available through the best bits of M&B’s estate
• 99% of US craft beers if you’re in the States or lucky enough to find them on draught here at places like the North Bar in Leeds or the rake in London
• Maisels Weisse
• Thomas Hardys Vintage Ale – v occasionally available on keg at the Rake
• Veltins Lager
• Probably 90% of the beers at the Bieres San Frontieres stall at GBBF – the fastest growing and most popular stand at the event
• Most beers on draught from Meantime
• Freedom Lager
• Duvel Green on draught at All Bar One
• And can we stretch it from keg to bottle? I’d add probably 50-70% of the non-bottle-conditioned beers available at your local supermarket (I’d say the hit rate for bottle-conditioned beers is about the same)
• Corona Lager

There are lots more, but that’s probably enough to be going on with. Happy Hunting!

(p,s. one of the above suggestions is a joke. See if you can spot which one. Alternatively, try them all and see if there really are differences in quality between beers that transcend the simple fact of whether they’re cask conditioned or not.)

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

Thank you, Pete. I'll keep an eye out for those things.

When I started drinking beer, keg meant Harp Lager, Double Diamond, and Whitbread Trophy. I think you will understand why I have stayed away from kegs ever since.

Unknown said...

Brian, I think I miss understood your question, apologies for that. Of course we understand reluctance to try keg on the history you mention.

Thanks Pete for helping me out there.

Reuben Gray - TaleOfAle said...

Ha Pete I was a little shocked when I saw Corona in the list but the PS redeemed you :D

Since Cask ale is so rare in Ireland, most of our micro brews are kegged and they are quite fantastic.

Some are even better keg than cask, that goes for other beers too even ones I have had in the UK.