When bottled beer drinkers turn to cask once a year and urge others to support it, you really have to sit up and take notice. Thus it was when I read Zak's blog. It seems the great and the good are getting creakily to their feet, skirting the fridge, no doubt with a longing and lingering look and wistfully surveying the exotic bottles in the garage - sorry cellar. No reaching for the outsize wine glass or the "exciting" triple Imperial Mild for them this evening; like Guy Fawkes night or Christmas Day, a once a year treat beckons. They are off to the pub to drink the real stuff.
At the bar their Tesco Clubcard is scornfully declined, trembling hands reach for actual cash and a real pint is procured. It is consumed proudly. Some take notes and buy "I'm Supporting Cask" T Shirts. Some have a second pint of this strangely normal beer and pat themselves on the back - being careful not to spill any of this extremely rare beverage when doing so - it's bloody expensive after all - and some even consider switching from lout to pongy cask, just to get a mention on the roll of honour. It makes you proud to be British.
The real message of Cask Ale Week is clear. Get out to the pub and drink some and do so often. Bring someone who doesn't normally drink cask and get them to try it. At a time when the Cask Report (are copies available yet Pete?) shows cask is the only beer with rising sales, continue to maintain and ensure that trend by doing the pub a bit more often. Not only is cask ale a British "national treasure" like the pub itself, it is bloody good stuff.
So next time you raise your glass of Quadruppel Barrel Aged Vanilla Lambic, remember experiencing that simple pleasure of a cask conditioned pint in the pub accompanied by real people, rather than by Eastenders and Shameless and get down the pub again. You know it makes sense to nurture what we uniquely have. It can all go wrong so easily. After all look what happened to Christmas.
For the record I visited the Landlady in the White Lion and had some lovely Thwaites Nutty Black.
No bloggers were hurt in the making of this posting.
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.
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