Friday, 25 March 2011

Is keg beer the new cask?

A debate is taking place on certain beer blogs, but not in my experience in the real world among pub goers, about something called craft keg.  It has spilled over into What's Brewing, CAMRA's newspaper, with an article in the current issue by Roger Protz; I've reproduced it below because I can't find a link on-line to direct you to it.  A small number of craft brewers with their blogging fan clubs are in favour of this new type of keg beer, and they tell us it's far better than the awful keg beers that caused CAMRA to be launched in the first place, and superior to the smoothflow ales that adorn most bars nowadays.  I have absolutely no problem with craft keg - no interest, but no problem either.  I might try a glass if I ever find it in a pub, but I haven't so far and, as I've visited at least 15 pubs this month alone in 5 different towns, if it's the next big thing, how come I can't find it anywhere?

Be that as it may, I think Roger Protz, with whom I don't always agree (we were on opposite sides of a debate at the CAMRA AGM a couple of years ago), has got it absolutely right.  I vividly recall the beer scene in the early 1970s, the time I began going to pubs, and it was just as he describes it.  CAMRA does what it says on the tin - it campaigns for real ale, and to whinge that it doesn't embrace craft keg is like complaining that the Cats Protection League doesn't save dogs.  If the craft keg fans find CAMRA doesn't satisfy their beer campaigning requirements, why don't they just go and start their own campaign?  That's not pie in the sky: CAMRA was founded by four blokes in a pub 40 years ago this month, but I expect that sounds too much like hard work, so they'd prefer to gatecrash someone else's campaign and pervert it to their own purposes.  Here's what Roger wrote:


  1. But what if the Cats Protection Society went round denigrating dogs as "canine filth"?

    I know we have had this debate before, but there remains a widespread attitude in CAMRA that beers that are not real ale are not worth drinking.

  2. Actually, I have read cats protection people disparage dogs, just as I've read abuse and misrepresentation of CAMRA and its members from craft keg supporters. I've also heard CAMRA types deride other people's choices of drinks, although not that often, to be honest. It's easy to quote exceptions, but that's all they are.

    It can hardly be a surprise that there are bad-mannered and unpleasant people both in CAMRA and hostile to CAMRA. But as for your assertion that there's "a widespread attitude in CAMRA that beers that are not real ale are not worth drinking", why is it wrong for people to know what they like and what they don't like? I very rarely drink beer that isn't real.

    But I wasn't writing about manners or drinking preferences; I was criticising the presumptuous demand that CAMRA embrace craft keg. It should only do that if the majority vote for it at the AGM, which is about as likely as me developing a taste for smoothflow.


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