One or two of my most dedicated readers may have noticed that there has been nothing from me to read for a bit. I'm not ill, just busy. CAMRA stuff has been a full time job recently and makes me wonder if, far from being held back by us old duffers the organisation is actually gaining a huge amount from experienced types like me ensuring, where possible, that local CAMRA operations are run as professionally as possible.
I have also been away a bit, but nowhere exciting. I've had crap cask ale in the only real ale joint in Dumbarton, JDW's Captain James Lang, where knackered beer was sold or rather not being sold to an uncaring Tennents Lager drinking brigade, leaving me to very much give up and switch to bottled Morretti which is a rather nicer lager than Tennents. To be fair to JDW, I also spent an afternoon with an old friend in neighbouring Helensburgh, where the local Spoons there, the Henry Bell supplied me with excellent cask and added a smile or two when serving, which also helps. Another thing that helps there is the large number of Royal Navy types from the Clyde Submarine Base, mostly English, who keep the beer turning over nicely. Both points illustrate that old quality thing again. What are you going to drink? Tired out cask beer or fresh Morretti? I know the answer.
I also had excellent beer in the JDW Counting House in Glasgow, a vast barn of a pub which was chokka at 11.30 in the morning and one on which I'd almost given up on quality wise. Bet they have a new cask loving manager - that's usually what perks a JDW up. On Rob Pickering's advice I also nipped into The Vale, where a perfect pint of Fyne Ales Avalanche was much more enjoyable than a typical Glasgow pub, atypically festooned with TVs all tuned to a different sports channel, while inside not a word was being spoken, as everyone gawped at these silent conversation killers. I'm guessing as it is directly opposite the Dundas St entrance to Queen St station, that it gets customers whatever. On this point I'll add, not getting engaged in conversation in a Glasgow pub is pretty near impossible.
In between times we sold out of beer at Rochdale Beer Festival and good it was too, despite the unseasonably warm weather that had vented beers going off like rockets, with fountains of beer everywhere. The answer to this though is not a soft spile and the beer turned out very well in the end. Manchester Beer and Cider Festival is also taking up a fair amount of time, but trust me, that will be worth it.
Lastly I attended the excellent British Guild of Beer Writers do in London last week. I'd never heard of half the winners which means I need to read more about beer obviously, though I wouldn't have previously thought so. Things clearly move on quickly beer writing wise as in everything else.
And no, I didn't win anything.
This was my entry for the Beer and Travel section. I thought you'd like to read it as we near the festive season.
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
These are the life blood of any blog. Please feel free to comment. I do not practice censorship if you stick to the point, but personal insults are frowned upon and may result in deletion. Anonymous entries may have the piss taken out of them or be deleted.
Beer samples are welcome, but I cannot guarantee a good review. You, the brewer, on the other hand can.
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