It was warm in London when the CAMRA Rochdale, Oldham and Bury mob visited, led by that most intrepid of topers, Tyson himself. They arrived on Friday, but I was a bit of an advance guard, having come down the night before from my mother's place in Scotland, to get a bit of rest beforehand. Naturally that rest included a schlep to Camden Brewery for the launch of Mark Dredge's new book, where I enjoyed Camden Pale and Hell, didn't think much of American Hell and loved, as much as I've liked any beer this year, a one off Kiwi Wit, which reminded me very much of Schneider Hopfenweisse, but was better to drink and at a more swoopable 5 per cent. They seriously ought to think of bringing this out, even as an occasional special. I also renewed acquaintance with fellow bloggers and beer writers and met a couple more that I had either not met, or had met only briefly. A really good night was had, marred only by a chicken kebab from round the corner from our flat. A bad decision made worse by a forseeable outcome! More of foreseeable outcomes later.
Friday was a glorious day as I walked to meet the thirsty Northerners at the Euston Tap. It all augured well as I observed no less than three Mallinsons beers on tap. My request for a sparkler was met with an odd remark from the barman "I don't like sparklers on pale beer" quoth he hovering with the offending article in his mitt, but not applying it. "Just as well you aren't drinking it then" I responded. "Sparkler please." Remember bar staff, it isn't your job to make judgements here. Someone that specifically requests a sparkler in a place that provides the option is unlikely to be persuaded out of it. Still, all was well with the beer here, as I have always found it to be. It was a good day beer-wise on Friday, with only the Parcel Yard needing to dial down the cellar temperature by a couple of degrees, though frankly, one or two others were on the edge. (If in doubt, make it slightly colder. Beer always warms up. It never cools down.)
Saturday was similar temperature wise in the two pubs we visited on the official crawl. Maybe, for Northern tastes at least, slightly (and arguably) on the edge in Craft Islington and too warm and flat in the Union Tavern, so E and I baled out to the sanity of the Old Red Cow, which is rapidly becoming a favourite and which serves cool beer and has a lot of cool people in it. And me.
I do worry continually about quality of cask beer, but more so in London which is a whole lot warmer than the North and which already suffers from a serious over-venting problem. As it gets hotter, the beer quality gets worse as cellars either haven't got the kit to cool the beer, or are being incorrectly set.
Apart from a few trusted places, come summer in London, this cask man will be haunting a few more Sam's pubs for Pure Brewed Lager. That's my other foreseeable outcome. Pictured is the Fox and Anchor at Smithfield Market. Another new favourite and some rather flat looking beer bought on Saturday near a canal.
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.
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