Being a CAMRA Chairman is a mixed bag; some pleasant, some mundane and some downright like drudgery. But its my "job" - a labour of love - a calling if you like and therefore not one that I expect great plaudits for. Of course small things mean a lot when they do occur.
There is a lot of talk about how the trade resent CAMRA to varying degrees. That may be so in some places, but as my branch has never been swayed by freebies (rarely even offered any) and seems to have good relationships with our publicans, maybe we are doing something right. Those publicans that actually care about beer and what they do with it and want to keep their businesses vibrant seem to like us. I am struck particularly by the number of requests I am getting lately for advice. It seems that real ale, cask conditioned beer, is a must have to drive business for a lot of publicans and equally there are a lot of good pubs that have fallen from grace by a series of bad luck or incompetence, or more often, due to the greedy Pub Companies that are now ending up in the hands of people with some nous and less debt round their necks. I have two such cases on my books at present.
Thus it was yesterday I went to a pub beer festival that I had given some advice on. The pub landlady had thought it through too, choosing the Royal Wedding Day to launch it and then with beer to sell, had worked out in advance that the local home team would fill the pub today and live football would help tomorrow. Coupled with good advertising, banners outside, local press coverage and CAMRA advice and with Bank Holiday Monday to finish it all off, Bob should be your parents sibling. I certainly hope so, as she has done all the right things. It was also good to talk about the future and her determination to get the pub back to its glory days. She saw CAMRA to be key in this, which is the gratifying bit I referred to earlier. It is always good to work with people that actually care about what they do and of course, to be appreciated.
Another interesting snippet I picked up was how supportive Punch Taverns had been. They had allowed her to buy out of the tie to get interesting local beers in for the festival and would work with her to make things better in the future. A light at the end of the tunnel perhaps? Let's hope so.
So, a good day "work" wise. Nice when that happens.
A neat touch was the open cellar where you could view the cask beers being prepared and see how clean it all is. Great call that.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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