Last night, we were out on a CAMRA pub crawl of the southern fringe of Stockport town centre. We went in one particular pub, a bog-standard, modernised Robinson’s local. The only cask beer available was Unicorn, and it was utterly vile. Not cloudy, not vinegary, but with an overpowering appley off-flavour. Had I been in the pub on my own, I would just have left it on the table and sneaked out, but when you are out in public as the identifiable “CAMRA posse”* you are conscious of the impression you may make, so most of us forced it down.
But if a pub like that can’t keep cask beer in decent nick, then surely it would make sense not to bother at all. Bear in mind this was Friday night, supposedly one of the busiest sessions of the week. The time when “all their pubs serve real ale” was seen as a brewery virility symbol is long gone.
It also must be said how good the atmosphere was in the final venue, Sam Smith’s Queen’s Head – and the Old Brewery Bitter was only £1.52 a pint! This must be a future candidate for the Campaign for Real Pubs.
Incidentally, this was a repeat of the pub crawl described here.
* Only one person present had a beard, although the average age was undoubtedly well north of 40.