It tends to be put down as an inevitable consequence of growing older and more cynical, but I genuinely believe that most widely-available cask beers have become blander over the past thirty years. In particular, back in those days, the North-West bitters produced by Boddingtons, Holts and Yates & Jackson were often genuinely, uncompromisingly bitter in a way only a few micro beers are today. Yet those were the staple beers in pubs frequented by ordinary folk, not beer buffs. Yates & Jackson is now only a memory, Boddingtons a pale, transplanted shadow of its former self and Holts, while still an excellent beer when on form, falls much more into the category of having a good balance of malt and hops. In an age when the default pint of choice has become cooking lager, might it actually help brewers’ sales if they introduced more individuality into their regular cask beers?