Good posts from Pete Brown and Tandleman have engaged the cynic in me.
You know me dear reader, never one to tow the line, I feel the need to vent on this issue. As far as the airy fairy we should all work together notion goes I agree with it, however, big drinks companies are not ever going to do this, they are purely driven by profit not passion. I accept the argument that every brewery is looking for profit otherwise they would cease to trade and beer would die but some companies need castrating at the board level it seems.
Secondly as far as the CAMRA bashing that Tandleman comments on quite often is concerned, if some CAMRA members actually looked in the mirror before leaving the house it might not be such a huge issue for you. Cheap shot and I'm sorry.
Thirdly I'll just state an actual occurrence at The Rake during our Welsh Beer Festival last week.....
Customer : that Tomos Watkins Lager, do you know if it happens to be filtered and pasteurised? - (At this point I hope you're all thinking that this guy means 'is it real ale?')
Me: Not being an expert on every single beer that comes through the doors here, I'm gonna guess yes, although I may be wrong.
Customer : So it's not 'real' then? (I shit you not fearless reader, those words were spoken). Now I'm sorry for this because I have lots of time for CAMRA members, tickers, scoopers, beer hounds call them what you like but after a long week this question just wound me up and I answered.
'Well it's not a figment of my fucking imagination is it?'
This sort of question is exactly why Kevin and co are seen as extremophiles and why they will always be more of a cause of factionalism than a voice for good beer!
Why? because they care, sometimes too much? It's a good thing and a bad thing, it's a good thing because they are on the front lines of the fight for good beer and they want people to drink it.
It has it's bad points too because they are cutting themselves off from some of the best beer in the industry.
I don't want to turn this into an anti CAMRA rant though. This isn't about one organisation. This is about the whole industry.
It's a very polarised industry and it always will be, this has it's ups and it's downs too. The upside is that the amount of people that are appreciating craft beer is increasing, is this because the amount of great beer available is increasing? Yes, and it's awesome! There's more access than ever before to micro brewery beers and the more available the more people will enjoy them. CAMRA's newly crowned pub of the year is an excellent example of this, there are traditional beers alongside more contemporary ones, all of them kept extremely well.
Cellarman/womanship is a massive deal too, what's the point of getting great beer in if you can't keep it correctly?
But as I said before it's a very polarised industry, driven by a polarised public. As much as we as craft beer appreciators are shouting about great beer, there are the nay-sayers. There ARE still customers out there that drink alcohol to get pissed. I came across this just last week at the BrewDog dinner at the Dean Swift and I mentioned it in the blog.
Thankfully though, the amount of people who want to enjoy the beer in front of them seems on the surface to be increasing and people like Pete, Tandleman, Cooking Lager, Melissa and the rest of the high-brow beer writer folks are helping that with their various books, blogs etc.....
People like me will just have to keep getting incensed and driven on by the ignorance, we need to be strong, hold true to our values and shout about the beer that can unite people of all 'factions' and educate the public one person at a time if necessary.
I said at the top of this piece that Pete and Tandleman had engaged my inner-cynic, and they had, but after saying my piece(sense or nonsense) I feel hope again.
There is a lot of ground to make up but there are a lot of good, nay great, people out there who work hard every day to bring the best beer to the paying public.
I raise a glass of Kernel Black IPA to each and every one of you, keep it up, we'll all be fine.
Now all we need is for the government to stop hiking the duty on beer and give our national drink and the people that produce and serve it a chance to thrive!