Friday, 25 April 2014


The CAMRA Member's Weekend and AGM is in Scarborough this year and I'll be off there later this morning. Let's hope for decent beer and sunny weather. This being the UK, neither is guaranteed of course. This year there is little to excite on the agenda, with only oblique references to craft beer and the rest seeming a bit stodgy really. This is a pity, though perhaps Motion 11 might throw up some controversy depending on the approach that is taken.  We'll see.


This Conference amends the key campaigns as recommended by the Policy Discussion Group on Campaigning Focus as they are not focused enough on the strengths of real ale, cider and perry over their non-real counterparts. These key campaigns must be updated by replacing generic references to beer with real ale, or adding suitable wording to encompass real ale, cider, and perry.

Proposed by Chelmsford & Mid-Essex Branch

If this is anti craft I'll likely be firmly opposing it. If it is just pro real ale I likely won't be.  We'll have to see.

Preceding this is one decent motion that might get things going a bit and which seems to me to make eminent sense. That's Motion 9.


This Conference is concerned about the increasing tendency for some cask ales to be brewed to be served hazy or cloudy and the potential for both confusion at the point of sale and the undermining of customer confidence in real ale. It therefore instructs the National Executive to examine the matter and report back to next year’s Conference with its findings and, if necessary, proposals to remedy or ameliorate the situation.

Proposed by Peter Alexander, seconded by Graham Donning  

These seem like a couple of sensible guys. I wonder what they'll say?  I'll let you know.

Sadly we'll be saying goodbye to our Chief Exec Mike Benner.  He is off to boss SIBA, so at least he is still in beer.  That's good.


Erlangernick said...

Hey, is that Graham I met at the Sheffield AGM? If so, schöne Grüße from me.

Wish I were there, but I won't be. We enjoyed a week in Scarborough a couple of years back, it would be fun to see the places over-run by the BAGS.

I believe I've never had a cloudy, murky, or even hazy pint of beer in the UK. Of course, having only spent a total of about 10 weeks there, maybe this shouldn't be surprising. What do you suppose the National Executive might do to examine the matter if your motion is passed?

Why won't one of youse do something about the disgusting autovacs, ferfooksake? And then get on the oversized, lined glassware! Put those on the agenda, and I'll come vote.

Cooking Lager said...

Why do guys spoil a good piss up with all this talking and motions? I like a good swally but who wants to hear a load of old blokes banging on when the pubs are open?

If you cut all the boring jibber jabba from these AGMs, got some free booze & food on you'd see attendance rocket.

Phil said...

Good luck with the motion - I hope it gets through, and that we don't just end up with "hazy beers should be signed as being hazy, then the punter knows what [s]he's getting". The crucial point - which for some reason nobody seems to get until they experience it for themselves - is that haze can be a sign of condition problems even in a beer that's meant to be hazy. "Unfined" doesn't mean "full of trub". Hazy beers need very careful cellarmanship, not a buyer-beware "read the pump clip" approach.

Dave Unpronounceable said...

so, what 'remedy' can the NE possibly come up with?

They can't tell brewers to fine their beers if they don't want to. They can't make pubs not buy from such brewers.

They could of course amend their definition of 'real ale' to exclude unfined beers; this would of course be fecking ridiculous... plus the sort of brewery that makes unfined beer very rarely trades on the back of the 'real ale' term!

py said...

Hazy beer should simply be banned, it isn't fit for human consumption.

I also agree with motion 11, although I would like the term "zom-beers" brought back to describe anything that isn't officially CAMRA approved as Real Ale (including bottled beers and beers served through cask breathers). Non-real beers, chemical Fizz is another good one.

If its not real ale its not REAL beer. That will shut those hipster twats up once and for all.

Tandleman said...

Dave. It isn't about that. It is about potential confusion and abuse. There may well be an answer that it isnt a problem. It is not about the right of brewers to produce beer hazy or otherwise. That is up to them.

Dave Unpronounceable said...

indeed, but what can camra actually DO? short of redefining real ale?

(I'll not mention wheat beer at this juncture ;-) )

Cooking Lager said...

We have a C"AMRA says this is real ale" logo so we can have "CAMRA says this is cloudy filth" & "CAMRA says this is chemical fizz" or even "CAMRA says this is imaginary ale" logos too.

DaveS said...

Agree with Dave Unpronouncable -or at least, I'd ask the same question.

I know the motion is to set up a committee to see whether anything needs to be done and if so what sort of thing that could be, but you must have some idea of the sort of thing you'd expect them to come up with? So roughly what could CAMRA usefully try that won't be a) counterproductive b) mostly ineffectual c) unnecessarily divisive or d) all of the above? I'm having trouble thinking of anything, although there might be something I'm missing.

And actually, I reckon Brewdog would probably stump up for a job lot of stickers saying "CAMRA says this is chemical fizz".

Paul Bailey said...

I couldn't make this year's AGM, although I must admit Scarborough has little appeal for me. Faded and decaying English seaside towns are not my bag. (We've got too many examples in this part of the country to persuade me to visit one a couple of hundred miles away!).

Apart from the obvious attraction of seeing Tandleman putting his motion forward, I have to agree with Cookie about a load of old blokes banging on when the pubs are open! I know several members who go to the Members' Weekends purely for the socialising and the chance to explore somewhere different and visit some new pubs.

Life's too short to be shut up in a stuffy old hall, listening to turgid debates on internal policy. I fell asleep last year, and gave the afternoon sesson a miss. It was much more enjoyable wandering around Norwich in the spring sunshine and calling in at a few hostelries whilst doing so.

Having said that, good luck with the motion Tandleman, although I fear many of the above commentators are right, and those maverick brewers, who are producing deliberately cloudy beer, will just carry on doing their own thing, regardless of what CAMRA thinks.

Cooking Lager said...

Instead of phrasing like customers ought to be "warned" of cloudy/hazy grog, how about customers ought to be informed regarding relevant attributes for an informed decision to purchase.

Like describing a beer as "unfined" or "Naturally Hazy/Cloudy" Just as it's good to know in advance whether it's pale or dark, or how bitter it is or what the abv is

Erlangernick said...

By following the twitter feed, you can see the arguments pro & con!
Starts here:

Tandleman said...

Paul:I share your sentiments about rotting seaside towns. Didn't like Scarborough that much.

Cooking Lager said...

so what were the results then Tand?

What conclusion did the great and good sages of beery wisdom impart on these issues? The drinkers of our fair isle are hungry and eager to know?

Tandleman said...

I will be blogging on it later, but I was defeated in motion 9.

Bastards! :-)

DavidS said...

Reading between the lines of that tweetering feed Nick posted, it looks like your main problem was that people got the wrong end of the stick rather and thought your motion was basically saying "clear beer is always best".

On the other hand, despite reading most of your blog posts on the subject, I'm still not sure what sort of outcome - in terms of actual concrete actions that CAMRA could take - you're hoping for. Would being more explicit about that help to get your message across if you tried a similar motion in the future?

Also, it may not have helped your argument that your motion "isn't against cloudy beer in general" that (again, looking back through your posts) you seem to be pretty firmly against cloudy beer in general yourself...

Apologies if I'm reading things wrong and you actually made all this clear but people just disagreed with you...

Tandleman said...

Yes indeed. I'll be writing this up later. I knew it would be tricky, but c'est la vie.

I suppose it was a mixture of all the things you suggest.

Phil said...

Shame on you, Tand - how dare you go to a CAMRA AGM with a motion declaring that all the wildest, sexiest beers now being produced should carry a label saying "CAMRA Says This Is Undrinkable Piss"?

That was what the motion said, wasn't it? I've just read the Twitter feed and it wasn't terribly clear.

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