The original reason for creating this blog was the smoking ban in July 2007 which, as I predicted, has largely ripped the guts out of the British pub trade, especially traditional, working-class pubs. Since then, it has ventured on to various other topics relating to pubs and lifestyle freedom in general. But, while I obviously enjoy beer, I’ve never claimed to be a “beer enthusiast” as such. I’ve written here about how I am basically more interested in pubs than beer.
Clearly it’s not the case that I couldn’t care less about beer and, if you did a survey of the population of the UK, I would probably qualify in the 1000th most interested in it. But, essentially, I value the atmosphere and conviviality of pubs, and as long as I can get a decent pint of bitter – whether Robinson’s, Hyde’s, Holt’s, Sam Smith’s or whatever – I’m not really too bothered. I’m not someone who is constantly chasing after new, rare and weird beers.
I’ve been a member of CAMRA for over thirty years (most of those as a Life Member) and, despite my oft-expressed reservations, am currently a responsible official of the organisation at a local level. I am pretty much in favour of everything CAMRA campaigns for, but sometimes sceptical about what it campaigns against.
There has recently seen an astonishing upsurge of interest in beer, much of which doesn’t qualify as “real” in CAMRA terms. This is basically a Good Thing, and I welcome the way that some CAMRA shibboleths are being punctured. But it seems to be very much an urban and youth-oriented phenomenon. I don’t see much evidence of this beer revolution in the kind of pubs I frequent, and I doubt whether it’s going to permeate through to places like the Bennett’s End Inn.
So I hope you will pardon me if I take the view that this is all very interesting, but it doesn’t really affect me too much.