Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Let's Vote

I have been thinking about the term Real Ale, prompted this time by Boak and Bailey, but I have discussed it before. Is the term out-dated? I don't use it personally and there are alternatives. While I reckon CAMRA is unlikely to change its name, what do others think that the beer commonly known as real ale should be called?

In the first ever poll on this blog, tell me what you reckon.


Options are shown alphabetically.

43 comments:

The Beer Nut said...

I'm voting for "Live": presumably, the freshness maintained by the fauna within is what makes this sort of beer worthwhile. And it's perfectly possible to get the effect without necessarily using a cask.

Thom said...

I'm with The Beer Nut. It's the yeast that makes the beer special. It gives it wonderful condition which can be achieved in cask or bottle. This natural condition and lack of fine filtration sets it apart from other forms of beer.

BT said...

Cask/Bottle conditioned beer.

BT said...

Cask/Bottle conditioned beer.

Woolpack Dave said...

Good poll. I've made my choice, now lets wait and see.

Rednev said...

I do use the term real ale quite regularly, and know many others who do, so in my experience it's not outdated at all. Also, as a campaigner in other spheres, I know the value of recognisable terminology. I would argue that the term real ale means more to the general public than cask beer, cask conditioned beer, live beer, bottle conditioned beer or any other term you may choose to suggest. I think the fact that it's in modern dictionaries is probably the clincher. The reality is that all these suggested terms are in use now concurrently anyway, so it's not a case of either/or, but of personal preference.

Adeptus said...

I'm not a fan of the term "real" ale, as it implies something about other beers that I just don't agree with. To me, the term Cask Ale is accurately descriptive rather than emotive, and that's why I prefer that term.

Tyson said...

Rednev

I know what you're saying, but I have to put my vote in the "Cask" camp. It's what most people I know commonly refer to. I think Adeptus has something there.

jocko said...

I go with the scoopergen catagories

no gas-real ale
with gas-plastic
from abroad-foreign muck
very easy to remember as well

cheers

Paul said...

Cask, definitely. 'Real' doesn't sound right to me. I always ask for cask (that rhymes).

Paul said...

Tandleman: could you give me a bell on paul dot brookfield at gmail dot com please? I'd like to ask about visiting you and Tandle Hill Tavern sometime later on this week.

Paul Garrard said...

I'm an old stick in the mud and I'm not going to re-name my blog!

Paul Garrard said...

I'm an old stick in the mud and I'm not going to re-name my blog!

Dubbel said...

Cask. (Sorry Paul)

Zak said...

I voted cask, but I always ask "Is there is anything on handpull?". Damn, I'm unfathomably complex.

Tyson said...

Zak

That's a very traditional approach-asking for handpulled. However, it does blind you to electric dispense and so you're much safer sticking with "Cask."

Dubbel said...

...Not to mention gravity dispense - the purest of all the dispense methods. Which is why I would immediately dismiss 'handpulled' as an appropriate umbrella term.

Tandleman said...

Gravity dispense? For me, a peculiar and unfathomable obsession of a few. Only where there is no alternative as far as I'm concerned.

Tim said...

The beer engine does add complexity to the mouthfeel and body of a beer. I don't think cask really describes the situation though. I know a couple of pubs that serve polypins through their handpumps. Is this still cask, or 'real' ale?

Tim said...

The beer engine does add complexity to the mouthfeel and body of a beer. I don't think cask really describes the situation though. I know a couple of pubs that serve polypins through their handpumps. Is this still cask, or 'real' ale?

The Beer Nut said...

Blimey. From the way this discussion is going it looks like there's a serious objection to the words "CAMRA says this is Real Ale" appearing on bottle labels.

Gazza Prescott said...

I've got serious objections to most things CAMRA say, but there you go...

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Real Ale, I still think it sums things up the best.

Zak said...

True enough, although if any landlord, working with either gravity or electric dispense answered a flat "No" to my question, well, stuff 'em.

Boak said...

Live is good. You could start a new revolution with that.

Erlangernick said...

Gravity dispense is a "peculiar und unfathomable obsession"? Very funny.

Tandleman said...

Not in Germany though!

Erlangernick said...

Jawohl!

It's all perfectly logical though: If gravity pour is better than one extraneous method to pump and alter the character of the original beer (CO2), then it's also better than another extraneous method to pump and alter the character of the original beer (beer engine-swan neck-sparkler).

Tandleman said...

Regrettably, logical as it may seem, the one doesn't follow the other in this case.

Erlangernick said...

I say it do.

And as far as the original question goes, I don't see any point in changing to some other term. "Real Ale" even shows up in my Krautsch-Englisch dictionary as...well..."Real Ale".

Any other of the terms would have to be explained to the unwashed as well as "real ale" would, and the explanation behind "real ale" is as good as I think it could be. "Traditional Ale" might be better, but it'd be an extra three bloody syllables!

Wait...my new electronic dictionary says: "esp. British, produced according to traditional methods, keg-fermented, unfiltered, and unpasteurised beer". (my transtlation)

And Leo der Große says "beer brewed according to tradtional methods".

So don't change it, lest the Krauts will have to re-write their Wörterbücher.

Dubbel said...

Don't go there.

There's no reasoning with a Northerner on beer dispense ;-)

Woolpack Dave said...

No more than you can reason with a southerner on the same subject.

Incidentally, last night I saw “Fine Ales” advertised outside a pub.

Woolpack Dave said...

Zak, it's best not to answer "No" to a customer, I find. It is one thing in this trade I've learnt. Always think of an alternative to offer the customer if the exact requirement can't be matched. Sometimes, unfortunatly, I don't think fast enough.

haddonsman said...

Beer. Just beer. Whether it's cask conditioned, bottled and filtered, kegged lager... I don't care as long as tastes good. Real Ale implies the rest is inferior. Live ale implies the other stuff is dead... well, dead things can be tasty too!

Jeff Frane said...

As a Yank, I don't think I get a vote. But as a comment, I'd say I've been hearing about "real ale" for decades and finally got to try it two years ago. Last summer, my son called from Scotland to tell me that he'd finally understood what "real ale" meant and he was desperately in love.

I just don't understand why you would throw away a term that works.

Tandleman said...

Jeff, you are a mate. Of course you can vote!

I don't think we should or will throw away the term either. Now I'm off to the THT for some traditional, live, handpulled, cask, real ale.

The Beer Nut said...

And I'm off to the Bull & Castle for some extremely real filtered keg ale.

Tandleman said...

But not live, traditional, handpulled or cask. I win! (-;

The Beer Nut said...

Well, I could go elsewhere for a pint of live, traditional, handpulled, cask ale, but the one on offer doesn't taste as nice as the filtered keg ale.

Rednev said...

Woolpack Dave: I have seen the terms "Fined Ales" and "Brewery Conditioned Ales" used at the point of dispense; both terms were obviously designed to deceive the unwary.

Tyson said...

Dave

Yes, the term "Fine Ales" is often seen round Manchester. It usually means the opposite.

NAM said...

None of the above - Proper beer.

thegoodbeerblog said...

In Argentina I noticed that while the craft or independent brews were often called 'artisan' on menus, the rest - Quilmes and the like - were sometimes labelled as 'industrial', which I rather liked.

I think it could work here. How about Stella 'Reassuringly Industrial'?

But in this case I think real ale is the established nomenclature and it does the job so we are probably stuck with it. So I voted cask...