I was struck by a remark of a commentator on my blog about CAMRA people. Saga of Nails said " A problem that CAMRA has is that most people's impressions of the organisation stem from the standard but vocal CAMRA drinker that they see in the pub." Let's think about this. I'm casting my mind back and believe me I drink in a lot of pubs and have done for around forty years and I have had very few experiences of this kind of thing. Obviously I do go to pubs where they know me, but I just mind my own business about what people are drinking and if I have a problem with the beer, I have a quiet word with the bar staff. On the contrary I am often engaged by people to talk about beer. I also go to many pubs where they don't know me from Adam and just quietly enjoy (or not) my drink. I think I am fairly typical, except of course I write a beer blog. (The fact that I may report my findings here isn't covered in this case.) I certainly don't stand at the bar banging some kind of CAMRA drum.
I can remember once at a pub beer festival (at the Rake) some CAMRA beer bores going on about this and that, but the problem was to me only that they were blocking the bar. So how common is this experience of my commentator? What are these people being vocal about? How often does this happen and what annoyance is caused? Am I just tuning out this noisesome behaviour somehow? Clearly of course there will be times when, mob handed after a meeting say, there will be loud talking and dominating space, but is that somehow different to other such groups as football teams, quizzers etc?
In my experience CAMRA people go to pubs in the same way and with the same intentions as anyone else - that is to have a good time - and rarely (no more than the pub bore) bother anyone. In most cases, you won't even know they are there. Proselytising is unusual and if it atypically happens, it is probably done by the CAMRA equivalent of the aforementioned pub bore. Agreed it may be unwise to engage some CAMRA types in conversation, (no more than most types though) that's not the allegation. Is it true that most people's impressions of CAMRA members are derived from overly vocal behaviour in the pub?
Let me know what you think. I am genuinely puzzled and interested to know your thoughts.
I'd be interested to know too, the definition of the "standard" CAMRA drinker
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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