Wednesday 24 April 2013

What's in a name?

"We've managed to change the lease to a free of tie" she said, with a mix of relief and enthusiasm. "It's been a bit of a fight, but we got there".

This particular community theatre had been developing quite nicely, but to make the whole thing work as well as it could financially, the lady in charge wanted to be able to have free choice on the drinks stocked in the bar.

"I'd like you to help me get some draught beer installed"

"Great, I'd love to," eager to help "Only, I wouldn't advise cask beers, you wouldn't sell enough and there would be a large amount of wastage. But we do put some of our beers into keg, that would be ideal".

She loved the idea. Draught beer, locally made, it'd be the best solution all round.

So, I duly set up a temporary installation for the time being. I lent them an under-counter chiller, font, gas cylinder etc and installed it for them.

The theatre is also good at social media, Twitter and the like, and tweeted "got a keg of real ale on tonight courtesy of @HardknottAnn and @HardKnottDave #properdrink"

A short twitter conversation ensued pointing out that technically, beer in a keg can't really be called Real Ale.

This is not the first, nor I doubt the last time I'll have this conversation.

It does make me wonder if we should really be getting het up about the differences anyway, after all, most of the general public don't understand and many don't care.

Monday 1 April 2013

Propaganda or Maverick Opinion?

The Craft Keg verses CAMRA thing has kicked off this week. Poignant really, it's a bit like a certain struggle that occurred about 2000 years ago. I'm just wondering who is going to be crucified this time, and what will be the new replacement in the growing independent brewing empire.

Firstly, it seems there has been a CAMRA motion put forward to AGM proposing the banning the use of the term "Craft Keg" or similar in any CAMRA publication. I believe there is a good chance that this will be thrown out. If nothing else it would represent dangerous censorship, which I hope CAMRA would have nothing to do with.

Secondly, at Wandsworth Beer Festival, the program demonises keg in a generalised and un-knowlegable manor, and weaves into the rant various references to CAMRA.

This is all very unfortunate for all of us who care about the debate. Firstly, and a point I think that is extremely important, craft keg, micro-brewed keg beer, beer in-a-keg that has been less processed than the big brand pasteurised and filtered to death stuff, is different. The fact that it is more difficult to define than Real Ale1 might be a problem. But to demonise this growing sector of the beer world is, in my view, helpful to neither CAMRA nor the brewing industry in general.

But, is it CAMRA's fault?

Well, "yes and no" is my answer.

The debate is important. CAMRA must allow the debate to occur, just the same as the rest of us should. There is no reason why the debate should not occur in CAMRA publications. It does from time to time, and that is healthy. For it to occur, there will naturally be opinions that differ from mine, and those of other people who believe there are a lot of good things about keg beer made by independent breweries.

CAMRA does not have to support Craft Keg if the organisation feels they shouldn't. I would like them to do so, but that's just my view.

It is not the fact that CAMRA allow the debate, and therefore the inevitable maverick opinion that is the problem. It seems to me to be that the debate is perhaps biased in favour of the mavericks. However, to censor would be just as bad as the proposed censorship being put to the CAMRA AGM.

By not condemning the examples here, it is seen by those of us who dislike Craft Keg bashing that CAMRA official line is to condemn all keg.

So, shall we continue the debate?


1A point that I have on many occasions disputed, but to go into that discussion detracts from my main point here.