Sunday, 28 September 2014

Jurassic pub

It’s often said on beer blogs that the old-fashioned, unreconstructed CAMRA members who take a dogmatic “four legs good, two legs bad” attitude towards the real ale vs keg debate are a small and dwindling minority. But I’m not so sure. I would say these attitudes are far more entrenched than is often supposed.

Recently the issue came up the end of a pub crawl in one of our finest local pubs. The two individuals concerned are office-holders in the local branch and people who I would count as friends. But their opinions are pretty uncompromising, and I would say follow these principles:

  • Cask-conditioned (and bottle-conditioned) beer is intrinsically superior to all other forms of beer
  • Most non-real products are worthless crap
  • There may be some half-decent beer available in places like Prague and Munich, but it’s not a patch on real ale
  • So-called “craft keg” is just old-fashioned keg dressed up in a trendy suit
  • CAMRA should officially not make any favourable mention whatsoever of non-real beers
Everyone is entitled to their views, but I would say the kind of internecine squabbling that these opinions inevitably encourage does the overall cause of the appreciation of beer no favours.

As founder member Michael Hardman famously said:

“I must point out that we’re not fighting against anything, we’re fighting for something,” he says, as measured as a well-poured pint. “There may be some members who give a different impression and I apologise to the general drinking public for the fact that we’ve recruited those people.”
But unfortunately there are still many members who feel that the endless war against keg is their primary purpose. Supporting something doesn’t mean that you have to condemn everything else that doesn’t fall within that category.

17 comments:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djIXYW9X3Qg

    A quite amusing song about CAMRA

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  2. I enjoyed the same piss up and might add the chaps in question are at the older end of the piss up scale. The younger chaps on the piss up enjoyed a far wider variety of grog, though I might have been the only piss head on it liked liked lager & lime and aperol & prosecco spritzers.

    When it comes to craft, those of us that live craft, breath craft, are craft, are younger. In the words of Nikita Khrushchev "We will bury you"

    Craft is the future!

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  3. Branch office-holders are a small minority.

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  4. Its certainly not CAMRA's job to promote craft keg. The problem is the unhinged hostility shown towards it. Peaceful co-existance is far preferable.

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  5. I quite enjoy a bit of unhinged hostility, though sadly my local branch seem decidedly ecumenical.

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  6. At the CAMRA AGM in Norwich last year, Colin Valentine (National Chair) said several times that CAMRA is the Campaign FOR Real Ale, not the campaign against anything - including craft keg. The CAMRA Taliban are a small minority who represent neither the views of the founders or of the current leadership. They don't represent most members that I've come across either.

    I prefer draught real ales to all other beers, including bottled real ales, but that's my choice. Others are perfectly entitled to make different choices.

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  7. I think the type of members you refer to Mudge, are a dying breed. We've still got the odd dinosaur in our branch, but one member who I would have put in this camp has had a "road to Damascus" conversion, and has been flying off on beer tours, to such far-flung places as Australia and California, and he certainly hasn't been complaining about the lack of real ale there.

    Sampling the beer in Kaliningrad was his latest venture; not the sort of place you'd automatically associate with good beer!

    Thanks for the You Tube link, Fredrik Eich; my favourite CAMRA spoof is the Real Ale Twats from Viz. "Best foot forward casketeers". The chief character also bears more than a passing resemblence to our Branch Chairman!

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  8. All these comments prove it, mudge. Camra is evolving into the campaign for saisons,keg ipa and craft lager! Boring brown bitter is dead and buried. The future is fizzy cold and sat on a scatter cushion.

    The Dickies are in the minority in their own beard club. Join us in craft, Mudge, join the future.

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  9. Michael Hardman was fighting for craft beer, he was just ahead of his time.

    If promoting craft keg over non-craft keg is an effective way to turn more people on to interesting beer and therefore eventually onto cask ale... surely it should fall squarely within CAMRA's remit? Only a true believer could attempt to deny that.

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  10. The old CAMRA members that I know are shareholders in various craft keg companies. So, they are not frowning on dividends.

    And yes, craft keg is a good starting point for people and they do move on to real ales from good craft keg experiences.

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  11. You should know what John Clarke is like after a drink...

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  12. Don't tar me with that brush (just back from Amsterdam where I a great deal of excellent keg beer).

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  13. I felt quite depressed reading the latest letters page in Whats Brewing, the rejection and resentment of anything new from I'm assuming what was CAMRA's older members (i could be wrong)just got me down.
    Even the one who spoke in favour of new microbreweries complained they made too many new beers, that they should stick to a few core beers, dont innovate.


    Then i had a pint of craft keg and thought that they would be all dead soon enough and cheered up. Progress willl come.

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  14. Don't be annoying Clarkey, kicks off and likes a scrap when he's had a few. Barred from most of the kebab shops of Manchester for it.

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  15. A good reason why this so called campaign for "real" ale ought to be as proscribed as islamic jihadi terror groups.

    Promoting the harmful extremism of alcohol soaked excess under the guise of tradition and arguing about how the poison is dispensed. Ban CAMRA and all those that promote drinking and pubs and we will see the country into a new brighter future.

    To Guantanamo bay with all CAMRA "officials" !

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  16. you need to come up with a new character now Tim. This joke is past its sell by date.

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