The cask versus keg and "what is craft?" debate is still bubbling away. My friend Nick who likes to dabble on Ratebeer, has drawn my attention to some discussion there, which kind of mirrors the various discussions that have taken place within this and other blogs. What is craft? Can cask be craft? Is all "new" keg craft? Is all craft beer good etc.etc. You know the kind of thing.
Following my article in CAMRA's Beer Magazine in which I defended CAMRA's position, I had thought I might get quite a lot of flak, but I haven't, though of course my position on this one has been made clear and few bloggers seem to be CAMRA members. Last night on Twitter I had the opportunity to cross swords with Hardknott Dave about the more specific subject of keg and CO2 and though it was a lot of fun, it generated more heat than light, as these things tend to. It is nonetheless certain though, that the subject of keg and craft causes passions to become inflamed, with keg evangelists every bit as ardent in support of their cause, as CAMRA is in support of cask. In many ways it reflects the early days of CAMRA, where the noise generated was inversely proportional to the numbers actually involved. Given that "craft" keg is even smaller than cask was then in availability terms, this is particularly noticeable. It is that I assume that caused Roger Protz to refer to "noisesome bloggers".
My guess is that this will continue, though I wonder if somewhat uncritical coverage of keg will really further their cause. Is it always served just as the brewer wanted it to be? Is it always unpasteurised? Just as cask can be too warm, is it too cold? To return to my discussion with Hardknott Dave, I suppose my particular contention is that in most cases, keg beer is served way too carbonated. Whatever the brewer wanted from it, anything around 2.8 vols of CO2 would seem typical. That is pretty gassy. I postulated to Dave thus: "fizzy* is keg's Achilles heel, just as poor, flabby, vinegary beer is cask's". We all know and admit that cask can suffer from a myriad of faults. Is keg fault free? Is there really no bad craft keg?
In the end I suppose, sales will tell and the drinker will decide, but in the meantime, any views?
* "Fizzy" is seen as pejorative by some. Substitute "highly carbonated" or "gassy" if you prefer.
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.
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