My fellow blogger Stonch has stirred up a hornet's nest in one of his recent posts where he posed the question What comes first for you - the beer, or the pub?. Some of the correspondents rightly point out that the pub is a uniquely British concept. (Some would say, me among them to a large extent, that it is quintessentially English. Scottish and Irish pubs are similar, but they are not the same.) Our transatlantic cousins do not have pubs in the same way and additionally, they are thinner on the ground for a variety of reasons, some historical, others more practical in that it is a big place. Everything tends to be further apart. Our pubs are usually stated as one of the most remembered things when surveys of foreign visitors are made. Away from these shores the pub is never quite the same. It can be copied, but rarely successfully.
All of my Yankee friends are beer men. It's how I met them. They are also pub people, but to a different extent due to reasons above. So to answer Stonch's question. I am a pub man. The pub comes first with me and on this blog. In the case Stonch describes, a sterile pub with great beer or a vibrant local with great atmosphere, well I guess the local - but I'd try the interesting beers in the other place first. After all, I am a beer man too.
Some have boiled the question down to "are you a lonely saddo or a gregarious hail fellow type?". Maybe people are viewing the question from a standpoint that will never elicit the "correct" answer for reasons of background, inclination or circumstance. Pub attendances are falling so the question has much validity. To me and this blog, the pub and drinking are synonymous. To others, evidently not.
One of the growth areas for cask ale is women, so maybe Stonch will find less TA types and more totty as time goes on. That'd be nice, though in my case somewhat academic and in the youthful and lusty Stonch, less so. Getting older has some compensations. Some of life's choices are already made, so I can concentrate more on the beer. Or pubs?
For Stonch - a couple of customers at this years GBBF. I suspect they are not in the TA!
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. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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
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Beer samples are welcome, but I cannot guarantee a good review. You, the brewer, on the other hand can.
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