Thursday, 30 January 2014

Clear As a Clear Thing


I posed a question on the 14th of this month about unclear beer and what people thought about it.  Despite what some thought as the loaded and pejorative way in which my pole was framed, nonetheless it came out with an err... not exactly clear answer. Well sort of.

Out of a respectable 163 votes, no less than 51% had some doubts about beer which isn't clear, while the biggest single answer was "Not if it tastes good to me".  The results are below.

Not if it tastes good to me
  66 (40%)
Depends how murky it is
  15 (9%)
Yes I mind. Beer should be clear
  17 (10%)
If it is craft keg, I don't mind, but I expect cask to be clear
  9 (5%)

I would like to be warned in some way before I buy and then I'll decide
  53 (32%)
I don't know enough about the subject to make a correct decision
  3 (1%) 

Taken together with Mudgie's similar poll which shows an overwhelming majority would like to be given an indication beforehand if the beer isn't meant to be clear, (I'm staying well away from the word "warning"* at this point), it seems that the general dissatisfaction about the situation needs to be addressed in some way.  That may be the end, but what might the means be?  Now I have to confess, that as a mainly cask drinker,  that I'm not quite so bothered if keg beer is cloudy or not, though in most cases I'd just like it to be no more than a hop haze.  (I have already expressed my views that the case for finding good things in your unclear beer is at least as likely to be counteracted or outweighed by the bad). But when it comes to cask I'm firmly of the view that the beer should be clear, or have no more than a slight haze caused by hopping, or maybe by lack of finings, though that's a more complicated argument. 

So back to means.  Should CAMRA, through its AGM, try and do something about this given the confusion and possible undoing of years of campaigning?  I thought maybe, but having talked to many veterans recently, the difficulty would be in finding the correct form of words for a motion and the appropriate sanctions - though I don't rule out trying.  Taking a different tack, I somehow doubt that most pubs will adopt a voluntary code as it were and I have the same reservations about breweries doing it either.  Seems the only thing is for the customer to have the onus put on them to ask if they care enough, though given the paucity of beer knowledge amongst many bar staff, seems unlikely to put minds to rest.

The case for not letting this rest is well put by Mudgie and funily enough, by Cooking Lager. This quote is telling and one with which I agree "it is all too easy for a defect to masquerade as a feature. And it’s hard to avoid the thought that promoting the virtues of cloudy beer is another way to create a divide between the crafterati and the general public."

Despite what a healthy 40% allege in my poll, it isn't all about how it tastes to an individual.  There are bigger issues at stake.

* Despite dislike of my use of the word "warning", that's exactly what people mean when they say they wish to know in advance.

62 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

As someone who visits London a lot more than I do, how would you respond to the comment on my blog that "if you ever go to London you will find the majority of craft bars proudly sell their beer hazy"?

I get the impression there is a greater acceptance of hazy beer in London, but that comes across as a gross exaggeration to me. And if they're selling beers hazy that are meant to be clear then there's something badly wrong.

pyo said...

Define "meant to be clear". Clear according to who? CAMRA? The beer bloggers alliance?

The expression "London Murky" didn't magically appear from nowhere. Its simply an example of changing consumer preferences that some traditionalists find hard to swallow, excuse the pun.

Tandleman said...

Mudgie. It isn't exactly what I've found. There seems though to be an idea from some new London Brewers that beer need never be clear.

Ex blogger and licensee Jeff Bell has complained about this. It is not just down to preference, but lack of skill at times.

pyo: Clear according to almost every brewer and consumer. It is also an example of lots of people who know little about good beer, drinking bad beer and not knowing it.

Among other things, it seems you are swallowing a myth that unfined beer is always better. It simply isn't.

But you fill your boots.

pyo said...

Define good beer and bad beer?

Surely what is good and bad in beer is entirely subjective. If I say beer X is nicer than beer Y, who are you (or anyone) to tell me I'm wrong?

I don't think unfined beer is necessarily better, my argument is merely that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with hazy or cloudy beer, and if some people prefer it that doesn't make them wrong, it just means their opinion differs from yours.

But then, I don't think Carling is "bad beer". I just think that I don't personally like it. Live and let live etc. I don't think CAMRA should be trying to tell people how to serve and consume their beer any more than they already do. As I said on mudgie's blog, its the same argument as sparklers all over again.

Tandleman said...

pyo: Then why do so many people clearly state they'd like to be told in advance?

Nor do I believe that CAMRA should be telling people what to do, but they should stand up for cask beer drinkers who may be hoodwinked.

While it may be preference, as I said, there are wider considerations. In my book if not in yours.

Pete said...

Hoodwinked by what, exactly? The fact that not everyone agrees that any beer that isn't perfectly clear is somehow flawed?

Surely CAMRA should be singing the praises of good beer, not looking to start yet another fight about what "real beer" is, or isn't.

It's precisely that sort of nonsense that drives members away.

pyo said...

Well more people said they didn't care as long as it tasted good than said they did, so its hardly a ringing endorsement, especially if you consider the likely profile of your readers.

I'm playing devil's advocate anyway, I think in an ideal world all beer should be advertised with tasting notes including what it looks like. I just don't see cloudy as as big an issue as flavour, or colour, for example, so I don't see why it would need a separate proposal.

I also think this might be a bit of a north south thing. I often get pints of cask ale that are cloudy - most stuff from Oakham looks more like cloudy cider than beer - but by god its good.

Tandleman said...

Can't agree Pete. The possible concerns have already been laid out. The views aren't CAMRA ' though. It may not be possible to persuade members of my case.

Yours is unconvincing as it stands.

Phil said...

pyo - lots of beers are meant to be sour, but I'd be p.ed off if I took a sour pint of Landlord back and the barman told me it was "entirely subjective" and I shouldn't tell him how to serve his beer.

The trouble with beer that's meant to be cloudy is that it makes it impossible to tell the difference between the kind of cloud that's genuinely a matter of personal preference and the kind that's a well-known fault.

pyo said...

The point there is consistency of branding. If a beer is advertised as being Landlord, then it should taste similar to every other pint of Landlord. Sourness is not intrinsically a problem in beer, the problem is that one pint of landlord was sour and another one wasn't. Subjectively, the sour pint might taste nicer, but thats not the point - the point is, thats not what you thought you were buying.


Define "fault" and explain how it is different from something that you subjectively don't like the taste of. Assume you have never drank this beer before and know nothing about what the brewer "intended" the beer to taste like.

Pete said...

My "case" is just that it's overly simplistic to say "any beer that's not crystal clear is bad", and a motion saying that to the AGM would be as absurd as the idiotic "craft is evil" nonsense we had last year.

If that's unconvincing then fine; but it's damaging to CAMRA if they add yet another arbitary line to their "that's not real beer, because X" policies.

I may well be alone in thinking that, and I doubt they'll miss my subs much, but that's just how I feel :)

Curmudgeon said...

py0 - haven't you just accepted the point there? People have certain expectations of Landlord and all kinds of other beers and will be disappointed if the beers don't meet those expectations.

And I go in loads of pubs and honestly can't remember when I ever had a pint of cloudy cask beer that wasn't obviously faulty. OK, there was one that was supposed to be in a Belgian witbier style, and was advertised as such on the pumpclip. And that was pretty nasty, in fact.

pyo said...

Mudgie - I don't think so?

Either you recognise a beer, in which case there is no reason to advertise whether it is cloudy or not, or you do not, in which case information about what it tastes like is as important - if not more important - as how cloudy it is.

Stanley Blenkinsop said...

Well at least you don't try to distort your poll figures,√° la Mudgie in his survey of whether people should stand/sit at a bar.
Laughably, when 75% of respondents said they do either sometimes or occasionally ( ie the same thing )and only 25% said never he reckoned this backs up his post about this being bad form.
Regarding hazy beer I suppose like most people it instantly puts me on alert for a naff pint but if it tastes okay I'll generally drink it.

Tandleman said...

Pete: Did I say that is what I thought of taking to the AGM or indeed that every cask pint shiuld be crystal clear? I think not. Not my point at all.

This is a tricky enough subject without that kind of thing.

Tandleman said...

Oh and Pete. Your extrapolations are way off beam. I spoke strongly at the AGM against anti craft motions. I don't do silly motions.

Pete said...

My bad - I took the line about "I don't rule out trying" (to formulate the correct form of words) as an indication that you thought such a motion was desireable.

As for being off beam - sure, you don't see this is a "silly motion", but then I'm sure the folks putting forward the anti craft nonsense thought they were being silly, either. And given how close at least some of those votes were, apparently nor did a lot of AGM attendies.

I'm certainly guilty of hyperbole at times, but when I see the CAMRA AGM brought up in the context of what is essentially an issue of personal taste, it troubles me. We might as well have motions against sparklers (actually I'd vote for that one).

Tandleman said...

But Pete. You continually miss the point. It isn't just about preference.

Pete said...

Well your own poll suggests that 40% aren't bothered by it, as long as the beer tastes right. That would seem to indicate, to me, that it's a point of preference rather than some fundamental truth.

You choose to disregard that 40% in your last sentence, but that does then make me wonder what the point of the poll was.

You're right, though. I'm quite clearly missing the point.

Tandleman said...

I combined my findings with Mudgie 's. The clear preference was to be informed if the beer might not be clear.

But the points you miss is that clearly many want something done about it though they may well choose cloudy. And that I and others feel there is potential for confusion at best and malpractice at worst.

You keep implying that all I want us clear beer. What I actually want is pre drinking information.

The implication of the 40% is not ignored but I draw no wider conclusion other than 40% of geeky readers of my blog don't care.

py said...

Its a funny old state of affairs when the people saying "its not that big a deal, just live and let live" are the ones described as geeks.

Pete said...

"You keep implying that all I want is clear beer"

I'm not trying to be an ass here ( despite appearances :) ) but when you said "when it comes to cask I'm firmly of the view that the beer should be clear", I took that to mean that you want... clear beer (although keg, inexplicably, gets a pass?)

If this is just about decent Point of Sale information then absolutely - as long as we get a full hop list, colour definition and IBU along with the "International Murkiness Scale" score. More information is always better.

Of course, the pump clips might then be so big that it's hard to actually see the bar staff!

Tandleman said...

Pyo: Indeed but there you are.

Pete: That is my preference but not the point of the post really.

I let keg off a little for a complex array of reasons, though I think I went o to say that I prefer just a haze.

Coxy said...

There is a clear and Present Danger, most people who drink Ale are not bloggers or even members of CAMRA, they will expect clear beer.

Curmudgeon said...

"If this is just about decent Point of Sale information then absolutely - as long as we get a full hop list, colour definition and IBU along with the "International Murkiness Scale"

That's a reductio ad absurdam, as I'm sure you are well aware.

But the point is that the vast majority of cask beer sold in the UK is meant to be clear, and cloudiness is indicative of a fault. Therefore if a beer is intended to be cloudy, that is a deviation from the norm and the customer has a right to be informed before making his purchase. And, as I said on my blog, if you actually *want* to popularise cloudy beer, telling people about it is a positive step.

As Coxy says, most real ale drinkers are not beer geeks or CAMRA members.

py said...

Either your argument is that all information is welcome, in which case it is not reductio ad adsurdam at all, or it is a value judgement on clear vs cloudy beer, which is pointless, unwelcome and behind the times. There is no more reason to think that cloudy beer is necessarily a "fault" nowadays than it is to think that clear beer is, or dark beer, or hoppy beer, or any other kind of beer.

The majority of ale drinkers probably wouldn't even notice if you gave them a cloudy pint, whether faulty or deliberate.

Pete said...

"That's a reductio ad absurdam, as I'm sure you are well aware."

Yes and no. Personally, I would find proper information about the hops used in a beer way more valuable than whether it's supposed to be a bit murky. I genuinely mean it when I say I'm all for more information on the pump clip, but why pick on one single aspect - clarity - over any other?

Most beer drinkers I know (I won't exclude half of them by sticking to "real ale") are, indeed, neither beer geeks or CAMRA members. Some of them may raise an eyebrow at a slightly murky pint (although that assumes they peer closely enough to notice). They would, in all probability, shrug and drink it anyway regardless of whether or not it was "meant" to be that way.

The only folk who care passionately enough about it to be arguing the toss are the beer geeks and CAMRA members. Most punters just want beer - if it tastes fine, they'll ignore the murk and if it tastes like shit, they just wont buy any more regardless of it's clarity.

Tandleman said...

Pete. It is obvious that you are incorrect about when you say most punters will ignore the murk. Perhaps most hipsters might - and that's debatable - but as Mudgie said most beer drinkers do expect clear beer.

And a slight haze may not usually be a problem but that's not always so either.

At least you are on the right lines with the tastes like shit comment. Oh wait a minute. Not always so either.

py said...

Pete: I think its an age gap mate. The over 50s care about clarity, everyone else cares about taste. No point arguing with them on this one.

Tandleman said...

py

So I don't care about taste? Of course I have the slight disadvantage of knowing a fair bit about brewing process and faults.

I see where you are coming from, though I hardly agree with it in its present form.

Maybe "The over 50s care about clarity as well as taste, everyone else cares about taste."

I'd also say it is mostly London based hipsters that reckon it, with a few beardy outposts in Manchester, Leeds etc.

And I rather think it might be those in their 20s and 30s

It is a shocking myth that some actually believe that a new better tasting nirvana has been discovered. What nonsense.

Curmudgeon said...

I've just returned from a Pub of the Month presentation at the Magnet, which is the nearest Stockport has to a "craft beer pub". It even had a couple of craft kegs on ;-)

Every single real ale was served crystal clear. I was presented with a spectacularly murky pint of Magic Rock Rapture which went straight back to the bar. It turned out the beer had just gone off and that had been the last one served. Another beer was offered with apologies.

So at least in Stockport this crafty/murky thing just isn't happening.

Pete said...

Tandie: It's obvious that you and Mudgie disagree with me, but to jump from there to "obviously incorrect" is odd (and mildly insulting). How about we just agree to disagree?

Still, thanks for (by implication) calling me a 20-something hipster. I think that's a first :)

Py: I don't think it's purely age - I'm no spring chicken myself. I suspect we're simply imagining different hypothetical "average drinkers"; mine are not nearly as beer knowledgeable as theirs :)

Tandleman said...

Pete: Only a mild insult? Damn. Must try harder! ;-)

Rob said...

" There is no more reason to think that cloudy beer is necessarily a "fault" nowadays than it is to think that clear beer is, or dark beer, or hoppy beer, or any other kind of beer."

In the vast majority of normal (i.e. non 'craft') pubs, a cloudy/hazy pint is indeed indicative of something being off. Just because a tiny proportion of beers are intentionally this way doesn't mean it isn't an issue.

Of course clear pints can be dodgy as well, but I don't think anyone is saying otherwise?

I think I said I would want to be informed if the beer was meant to be hazy. My fuller answer would be that ideally it shouldn't be an issue as the pub should be run properly so that duff beer isn't on. If the pub doesn't know their product then I won't be returning. I went to a freehold this week where pretty much every cask was either off or on its way out. No wonder most people were drinking lager. (And why does a pub have 6 or 7 casks on midweek when only about 5 people were drinking cask?) It's a shame as it was a nice pub, and cheap.

DavidS said...

In terms of means, I think you'd be onto a total non-starter with a straight "cask ale should be clear" motion. It'd be unlikely to actually stop people producing hazy or cloudy beers since they tend to be the sort of breweries that don't care what CAMRA things, would further alienate several brewers and quite a lot of beer fans (including, presumably, 85% of your voters) from CAMRA, would give further ammunition to the Brewdog-esque view that if you want awesome, innovative beer rather than consistently okay brown bitter as far as the eye can see then CAMRA are part of the problem rather than part of the solution, and would generally be completely out of proportion to the actual scale of the issue.

Proposing a voluntary labelling scheme might get further - I can imagine little weather map style icons for "clear" "hazy" and "cloudy" on the pumpclip or something. Ironically, though, that'd probably have the opposite effect to what you're after. It'd probably further the spread of unclear beer since pubs could start to stock intentionally cloudy stuff without having to worry so much about the inevitable arguments. Meanwhile it wouldn't do much to stop people claiming that "that's what it's meant to be like", since it'd endorse the idea that some beer is meant to be cloudy, and, unless it was somehow compulsory, not give any indication that the dodgy pint you've just been served definitely wasn't meant to be cloudy.

What you really want is for everyone else to indicate that their beer should still be served crystal clear - you wouldn't even have to mess around with the pumpclips in these days of mobile internet, a note on your website would probably do it. Presumably this is in the brewers interests, because it improves the perception of the quality of their beer. But they don't seem to be doing it, possibly because they aren't as worried as you that a couple of murky beers and some blog posts from a small number of relatively obscure craft brewers are going to destroy everything that's right and proper about cask ale...

Tandleman said...

DavidS. As I have said repeatedly, I have no intention or desire to offer a "straight "cask ale should be clear" motion." It isn't what I am concerned about. What I am concerned about is confusion and manipulation as well as possible reputational damage

I think too it might be an odd motion that asked the 955 or so of cask ale producers that expect their beer to be served bright to indicate it, while the other 55 - it may be a little less or more - don't indicative they are parting from the norm.

I agree though overall that most brewers don't give a monkey's chuff about what a few murky fans might do, but as a veteran campaigner and beiever in the 2thin end of the wedge", I tend to believe that the real ale needs eternal vigilance to protect it. Blurred lines are an issue to me at least. Back to thin end etc.

Now I'm not against keg beer or innovation, but I kind of like my beer to have the aspects I associate with quality.

As an aside, most slightly hazy cask beer is that way because it is served too soon. Other reasons are available.

Curmudgeon said...

OK, so I go into a pub and order a cask beer I have never heard of before.

It comes out distinctly cloudy, so I take it back to the bar and politely ask for an exchange.

“Oh it’s meant to be like that,” I am told.

“So why didn’t you tell me before I bought it?” I respond.

If it’s not changed, that is a severe customer relations fail. Regardless of the merits or demerits of cloudy beer, if you serve it up to unsuspecting customers it will seriously antagonise them.

py said...

OK, so I go into a pub and order a cask beer I have never heard of before.

It comes out distinctly hoppy, so I take it back to the bar and politely ask for an exchange.

“Oh it’s meant to be like that,” I am told.

“So why didn’t you tell me before I bought it?” I respond.

If it’s not changed, that is a severe customer relations fail. Regardless of the merits or demerits of hoppy beer, if you serve it up to unsuspecting customers it will seriously antagonise them.

DavidS said...

Okay, thought experiment - suppose CAMRA came out with a standard labelling scheme for indicating a beer that's intentionally hazy or cloudy, and strongly encouraged brewers of such beers to incorporate it on their pumpclips. (I'm guessing that this is the sort of thing that people are imagining, although if there's some other concrete course of action being suggested then I'd be interested to hear it...) Suppose that brewers went along with it.

Would this, on the whole, speed up or slow down the spread of such beer?

Clue: Moor already seem to put "unfined and naturally hazy" (or words to that effect) on a lot of their pumpclips, which they presumably wouldn't do if they thought they'd be better off trying to palm off their unfined beer as normal beer that's been badly kept...

Personally I agree that this would be a good thing, but as far as I can see, it'd be good news for people who want to sell more unfined beer, and bad news for people who worry about it confusing the message that cloudy beer is bad...

So what else, then...

Curmudgeon said...

Sigh. There is a general expectation that cask beer will be clear. There is not a general expectation that cask beer will be hoppy.

If, say, you ordered an unfamiliar keg lager in a pub and it came out as black as the ace of spades, you might well feel it would have been helpful for the font to say "dark lager".

Tandleman said...

It is hard work Mudgie. I just hope that it doesn't spread too far. Lovely yeast bite. Yum.

DavidS said...

You say that, but I've had bar staff earnestly warn me that a beer was dark, the implication being that I might have been expecting Midnight Porter or whatever to be a mid-brown bitter and been disappointed when it wasn't...

And I think that on the one or two occasions when I've come across intentionally sour beer on cask in pubs I've been warned by the bar staff and asked if I want to try it first as well. So yeah, it depends on the pub (as in, I'd expect a traditional real ale pub to be more cautious about all this sort of stuff than a hipster craft beer bar) but in general, letting people know in advance when the product they're buying won't necessarily be what they're expecting seems like good business sense.

py said...

I had a pint the other day that I was expecting to be a hoppy pale ale and it came out a dark brown colour with a malty flavour. I didn't send it back, although I was slightly disappointed because it wasn't what I had been after. It certainly made more difference to my enjoyment of the beer than had it been cloudy when I was expecting it to be clear.

The question is: should I have been warned that it was a malty beer? its not like malty beer is particularly common anymore.

DavidS said...

I've now got a mental image of a barperson in a fashionable craft beer bar saying something like "you know that this one's a subtle and well balanced traditional bitter, right? It's not to everyone's tastes, do you want to try a bit first?"

Curmudgeon said...

Plenty of malty beer around in the big wide world outside the craft beer bubble. Wells Bombardier, for example, is a very common cask beer.

py said...

So what % of the beer market does a particular style or attribute have to cover before it is no longer required to carry a CAMRA enforced compulsory warning?

Warning: this beer may taste of grapefruit.

Gary Gillman said...

The question needs to be asked: why does hundreds of years of British beer history - until very recently - show that people wanted beer clear? I cannot think of one instance in which a brewer or beer writer, into the immediate post-Jackson era, argued that cloudy beer was a good thing. But why again? Because a cloudy pint obscures the taste, imparts too much yeasty bite in the flavour. I have tested this myself numerous times with bottle-conditioned beer, pouring one clear and the other all-in. Every time I asked people which tasted better they chose the clear one. The reason is palate-related. Lager followed the same rules and was admired for this reason when first introduced to the English-speaking world.

Does this mean a little haze is bad? No, but to encourage good practice, the beer should appear bright and was always made to do so until recently. Wheat beer is an exception, possibly its high wheat content makes a cloudy pint taste good (some interaction of the wheat and yeast), but an exception proves the rule in the old adage.

Yet, new things come in, not always an improvement on what went before as we see in so many areas of life. This particular change seems well-night irreversible but I think it proceeds from a misunderstanding, originally in North America, of what unfiltered meant in England, and is to be regretted.

Gary

py said...

To be perfectly frank, 100s of years of beer history gave us a load of beer that tasted like absolute shite until the past 5 years. Thank god for the americans and the revolution.

Tandleman said...

Well said Gary. I say again. Yeast bite is not good.

Curmudgeon said...

So there was no good beer around in, say, 1974 then?

Gary Gillman said...

I'm with Tandleman. So was (amongst countless others) English brewing writer Frank Faulkner, writing in the late 1800's:

http://books.google.ca/books?id=3DNFAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA229&dq=Frank+Faulkner+semi-cloudiness&hl=en&sa=X&ei=2B7NUIS3KKHc2QWMh4CYBw&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Frank%20Faulkner%20semi-cloudiness&f=false

As you see, Faulkner says that a semi-cloudy condition interferes with the "delicate flavour" of beer, especially moderate gravity beer. Moderate gravity in the late 1800's meant 5-6% ABV. He is saying an excessive yeast taste hurts the beer.

Gary

Gary Gillman said...

I just want to add, on the question Tandleman actually posed, that I agree there as well. There is no point for CAMRA to try to obtrude an opinion/directive/rule on this. We are more in the realm of good cellarmanship. Given that sometimes cloudy beer was served even in the past - everyone "of a certain age" will remember the Monty Python joke about pond life in real ale - the issue of cloudiness in beer is one of degree, not anything absolute. You can't really define it although this issue is like a beer gone off, isn't it: you know it when you see it. But better to let customers' complaints adjust matters rather than any CAMRA rulings on the matter - albeit this is getting harder in the age of "London Cloudy", "London Murky", call it what you will.

Gary

py said...

No idea, I wasn't born in 1974. What I do know is that go back 10 years and in the vast, vast majority of UK pubs the best beer you could get would be, what, a keg Guinness? A Directors?

Camra voted GK IPA to be the 2nd best beer in the country in 2004. I wouldn't water my garden with that shit.

When I turned 18, the traditionalist beer industry offered me a choice of a load of shite - its hardly surprising that I now care very little about what they think.

Tandleman said...

py: "What I do know is that go back 10 years and in the vast, vast majority of UK pubs the best beer you could get would be, what, a keg Guinness? A Directors?"

Agreed. What do you know?

DaveS said...

So to cut back to my previous point, what do you reckon would be the ideal solution, given that the cloudy genie is out of the bottle and doesn't seem to be about to go back in?

Would it be a voluntary labeling scheme (eg an icon to include on a pumpclip / label) so that it's always clear when a beer is meant to be cloudy? Or something else?

DaveS said...

(Assuming, re the labeling thing, that people would more or less universally agree to use it.)

Gary Gillman said...

My view here, is CAMRA should not try to take any strong action, certainly not in the area of the definition of cask beer. The question of haze and cloud is too amorphous, we are more in the area of best practice and good cellarmanship than what real beer is or is not.

Certainly I would not be opposed to a resolution of CAMRA's board expressing the desire that those serving real ale will strive to present it bright, in line with hundreds of years of optimal practice as adumbrated by countless brewing experts and other writers. That might do so good, but apart from that I think it is best to patronize places that use best practice and avoid those that don't. After that it is up to the (global) marketplace really.

Gary

P.S. I see nothing wrong with telling publicans too, that a cloudy pint is not liked. Customer feedback like this will assist them to decide what final course to take on the matter.

py said...

TM: so you agree, great.

What was the other question about? What do I know about what?

Cooking Lager said...

Don't blame me fella. All I want is to be able to buy a beer and know in advance what I am getting. If beer geeks want a surprise they can ignore pumpclips, but I'd like to know. A pint of Stella ain't a gamble.

Curmudgeon said...

I love this comment from StringersBeer: 'you rarely get to see a sour or "murky" beer round here. Not since Hartleys shut anyway.'

DavidS said...

Gary: do you mean a desire that they should only sell bright beer, and should avoid stocking intentionally cloudy cask ales? Or just a reminder that they should be selling beer clear unless it's explicitly meant to be otherwise?

Cookie - that's fair enough, and to be honest I don't see why breweries like Moor would resist making it obvious that their beer isn't meant to be perfectly clear. In fact, they often do already afaict. Presumably because they know that if they don't then the pubs that stock their beers will get into loads of arguments with the customers about how the beers look, and that if stocking their beers causes your customers to think you're crap at keeping beer then you probably won't bother stocking them in future...

Gary Gillman said...

My view is that if the customer knows in advance cask ale will be served cloudy or hazy, that's fine. CAMRA could say, we express the wish that publicans will ensure that the beer drops bright before service but where they have no objection to selling a cloudy cask, a sign or notice should be posted to indicate this to people.

Gary