I've been banging on about cask beer quality as long as I have been writing this blog. It is a bit of an obsession of mine as I love great cask beer and feel frustrated enough to scream internally when it is not. The lack of quality in cask beer played a huge part in the rise of keg in the 1960s and keg and smooth beer in the years beyond. It may well have a place in the rise of craft keg, but that's not the theme of this post. Do however feel free to allege it or deny it in commenting.
The real focus of my ire though is temperature, as it is that above all which affects the condition of beer once it is in the cellar. I've been writing about that since Day One, so love the subject or hate it, I'm at least consistent and while I make many criticisms of too warm beer, I am equally keen to praise the good when I find it. So I'll remind you what I said on that fateful first day of blogging on 26 November 2007:
"Too warm a serving temperature and too little condition are the enemy of
cask beer. The latter two statements are also beer FACTS as they have
been proved to be true scientifically. Warm temperatures cause dissolved
C02 to return to atmosphere and too little condition will have the same
flattening effect on beer. Don't believe me? Read "Beer and the Science
of Brewing by Charles Bamforth. I have a signed and dedicated copy.
Another beer fact!"
Now I could have said that a little better, but the main point is that warm beer will always give you lack of condition and explains why, as it warms up even more after serving, the beer, which tasted reasonable at first sip, frankly, dies on its arse as you go along. It is important that the drinker and more importantly, the vendor,understands and bears in mind that a warm beer will not only get warmer, but will much more quickly lose its condition. That my friends is basic physics and why getting the cellar temperature and, importantly, temperature at point of dispense, correct. This is a one way street. There is no way back as temperature rises. Those of you who know me as a cellarman at beer festivals will know that I am equally obsessive there. My reputation is on the line and I don't have a temperature controlled cellar to rely on, which is the reason that many of you will have had to keep your coat on where I'm in charge of the beer. Sorry about that, but hopefully the beer was good.
Now why am I giving this background? Well I have received a bit of outrage from some about the fact that I dare to challenge warm beer and name names. I've covered this subject before, so I urge you to read this piece from August 2011. I'll also cover where complaining gets you in my next article.
You might also want to glance through this which is a search of my blog for the term warm beer and because reading my old stuff will be good for you!
I'll also be writing about a pub in London with great quality beer which, oddly is within a 5 minute (or less) walk of our London flat.
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.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
If you wish to email me you can do so by using this address: tandleman[at]yahoo.co.uk
These are the life blood of any blog. Please feel free to comment. I do not practice censorship if you stick to the point, but personal insults are frowned upon and may result in deletion. Anonymous entries may have the piss taken out of them or be deleted.
Beer samples are welcome, but I cannot guarantee a good review. You, the brewer, on the other hand can.
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