Seems a few bloggers have got their knickers into a twist over CAMRA Chairman Colin Valentine having a pop at the "bloggerati" at the CAMRA AGM. It was kind of kicked off byMartyn Cornell in a vitriolic, spittle flecked rant, in which he accused Colin of telling lies. Strong stuff. Seems Colin got himself in trouble by actually stating what he believed and for re-iterating clearly that insidious pressure by some bloggers for CAMRA to change would avail them but little.
Across the pond, Canada in fact. there is more - and reading the comments I'm somewhat suprised to see people chipping in about CAMRA who cheerfully admit they know nothing about it. Many of the comments also seem, on both sides of the argument, to veer off rather into tangents. Nearer homeRabidbarfly chips in his ten penn'orth and vows never to be a member as long as Colin is in charge. That'll teach him.
You can probably guess that my view is not quite as agin Colin as some. Sure he had a pop, but it's all good knockabout stuff. The serious message is that all the chipping away at them will not change CAMRA's focus on real ale. He could have sugared the pill of course, but Colin chose to say it in his own forthright way. Here's what I wrote to Glyn on his blog in response to what he said.
"But in any event, so what? CAMRA Chairman Robustly Defends Real Ale Shock. It is odd isn't it, a kind of cheek, that many in the blogging world feel free to attack CAMRA and its members in the most pejorative of terms, but throw a hissy fit when the CAMRA chairman decides to hit back a little. (More than you have blogged about this, one in particularly hysterical terms.) As for the jibe about the best beer being the next, many bloggers do butterfly around the exotic and rarely extol cask. Many bloggers do promote and encourage keg beer. Many bloggers do seem to promote new and exciting - whether you think that a good or bad thing is a point for debate - and many do struggle to define craft and what it is or isn't, while rallying around the term and using CAMRA's non support of it as a club to beat them with.
Can't have it all ways and if stick is dished out, sometimes stick has to be taken. "
At least it has provoked a bit of comment, but at the end of the day, as I said in my piece in Beer Magazine, I rather think that a bit of mutual respect is better. but if you can't do that, on whatever side of the argument your sympathies lie, don't expect the worm never to turn.
You will also find, I'd venture, quite a bit of trouble in finding lies in what Colin said.
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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