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Monday, 8 November 2010

The Good Beer Girl

I write as the Real Ale Girl. I am a member of CAMRA, I tick off every ale I drink in my Good Beer Guide and cask ale is my drink of choice 99.9% of the time. If you have read any of my previous blog posts, you will undoubtedly be aware that I'm just a little bit keen on real ale. So, yesterday, I moseyed on over (well, ok, I took the Northern Line, but moseying sounds more jolly, it's raining out there, we need cheering up) to the brand new Euston Tap: an ingeniously renovated architectural beauty stocked to the very atmospheric rafters with beers. Beers of such variety, origin and type that even a very hard to please Real Ale Girl had her mind well and truly boggled. Of course, we started on the cask ale. We tasted the wares of Bristol Brewing Co., Marble, Bath, among others and we compared the 10% Brew Dog Paradox to the very limited edition 9% Thornbridge Bracia and decided the Thornbridge boys won hands down. And then we moved on to the rest; a rather marvellous rest; huge accessible fridges stocked with the rare gems and firm favourites, and witty range of taps (indescribable- you'll have to go), serving an intriguing mix of draft beers from around the world. When I say we moved on to the rest; we actually managed about 5 more between us, it was a Sunday after all. Darn it, we'll just have to go back.
After The Why Cask Ale Rocks collaborative posts, we got many comments about why we stuck to cask- 'isn't it just a method of dispense?' etc. My response to this is that Belgian/ Czech etc etc beers don't need promotion, they don't have an image problem in the way real ale does in this country. However, overwhelmingly, it seemed from people's comments that there is an assumption that  being passionate about Cask Beer means a deep hatred and spurning of all other types of beer.
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post featuring the Draft House bar in Tower Bridge. A respected blogger and hugely experienced real ale drinker posted  a comment saying it was disappointing there was only one real ale when he went to visit. On my own visit I experienced this too, but took it as a great opportunity to try something different and have become a little addicted to German Rauchbier ever since.
Real Ale Husband plays football 3 times a week. But he also loves a good tennis session and is rather good at cricket. Real Ale Brother used to DJ and loves house music. But he can also regularly be found watching The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and saw Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Paul McCartney this summer.
And occasionally, I like to drink beer that isn't cask.
Cask Beer is not always good beer. It's not a secret that I find several of Greene King's beers quite undrinkable and would rather have a vodka if they are all that's on offer. The pub I frequent most Friday afternoons with colleagues does such a bad job of looking after its cask beers that I usually, embarassingly, end up on Strongbow. Good beer is good beer. Well kept beer is well kept beer. Cask beer is cask beer. That is all. Sometimes, those three happen simultaneously and the result is orgasmic. But sometimes, just sometimes, even a Real Ale Girl can find joy in a bottle that has travelled halfway around the world and tastes of pumpkin, not a cask in sight.

13 comments:

  1. Totally agree. I love my cask, and frequently try (and succeed) to get people to like it. But bad beer is bad beer no matter what sort of beer it is, and something that is pleasurable to your taste buds can't be spurned just because it's not cask.

    I'e recently gone so far as to suggest that there are beers you can get kegged and casked (e.g. BrewDog Punk IPA) are (shock horror) BETTER kegged! Best hand in the Camra badge now I think.

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  2. Hmm. I think you miss the point Real Ale Girl. The esteemed blogger was really commenting on the pub, not the beer I think you'll find and did drink the keg Meantime Pale which was just as poor. Quality is the key and offering flat cask and dull keg isn't helpful. So Susie is absolutely right in that "bad beer is bad beer".

    And as an aside I can say with confidence the blogger has had more keg beer than you've had hot dinners! (-;

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  3. Ever get tanked up on Foster's?

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  4. No. But Skol, Tennents, Norseman, Ushers Golden, Carlsberg, Stella. That'll do surely. And that's just the lager.

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  5. Real Ale Brother-In-Law would just like to point out that Real Ale Husband is not that good at cricket.

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  6. I wasn't impressed by Meantime London PA from the cask either TBH.

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  7. I would love to invite Real Ale Girl to Greene King's brewery in Bury St Edmunds to meet our brewers, have a look round our historic brewery and taste a few of our wide range of - what I think are - fantastic beers. I will pay for your train fare from London, and all I ask is that you keep an open mind and willing taste buds...

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  8. Ought to invite all of us really!

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  9. I wouldn't mind a taste of 5X+BPA, but I don't imagine they'd stump up for my fare down from Scotland!

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  10. Well, thank you Frances. I recetly had a discussion with a colleague of yours at Greene King about how the range of Greene King beers we have available in London is poor- he told me about some of the exciting beers you make and pledged to send me some to help me change my mind about Greene King. He did, incredibly kindly, send me lots of beer, but unfortunately they were bottles of Abbot, Old Speckled Hen and St Edmunds (which I'll admit, I can drink on a warm day)- all beers we do have available easily. I'd love to try some unusual, exciting Greene King beers.

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  11. Nice to be patronised by GK. Keep fighting back.

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  12. Tandleman, as you know, my mind is always open and my taste buds extremely willing. Albeit slighty more experienced than people would credit them.

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  13. Hello ...
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    Pass on my blog and leave a comment, craft beer is growing in Brazil for a look of my blog .... link below ...
    Ein Prosit !!!

    http://grandecervejeiro.blogspot.com/

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