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Monday 6 June 2011


Right then. I suppose I better stop drinking this Meantime Chocolate. I guess I shouldn't have given Real Ale Husband a bottle of Camden Wheat Beer for his birthday. Maybe I shouldn't have had that Cerveza Artesanal on my trip to Barcelona last week. In fact while we are at it, I better ban myself from drinking wine, vodka, maybe orange squash. Oh and what about tea?
I suppose I need to do all this because I call myself The Real Ale Girl. And I'm a member of CAMRA.  So therefore, I must only enjoy Real Ale.
Or so it would seem. The grand caskkegcraftbloggerattiCAMRAnoisesomebloggersblahblahblah debate. I've had enough, to be frank. I think I might take a couple of years off reading blogs on the topic until its all blown over. As if this issue will ever actually be resolved.
I joined CAMRA in 2004 as I wanted to find out more about this lovely liquid that I'd just been introduced to. I had enjoyed going to a few CAMRA beer festivals and was attracted by the prospect of reduced entry, copies of their publications in the post and meeting other people who might be able to introduce me to more ales. While I recognised that CAMRA was founded at a time when keg was king and cask on the way out, I was also aware that it British brewing was on the way up and I was excited to be drinking beer at a time when it was all getting interesting.
I want to drink beer. I want other people to drink beer. I want other people to enjoy drinking new beers, exciting beers, beers with flavour and character and oomph. It may well be that many of those beers in the UK are served in cask form, but we can all think of some bloody good beers that aren't. And to tell you the truth, I like beer too much to deny myself a new one just because I can't tick it off in my Good Beer Guide.
Campaining for Real Ale, enjoying Real Ale, writing about Real Ale, should not mean demonizing every other beer around. It just means Campainging for Real Ale. That's it. In some circles, Real Ale enthusiasts are inadvertently making Real Ale (or its drinkers at least) the demons. I have never been embarrassed of my writing name, I just hope that we can keep it that way.


  1. I hate to say it Shea, but you totally and utterly miss the point. Well the point of the debate at least. And more besides I fear.

    And I reckon I'm on your side on the basics.

  2. well said, i agree pretty much with all of that.

  3. I missed OUT the point, Tandleman as everyone has read it, heard it, discussed it and is bored of it. There is nothing new on 'the point' to say. MY point is that I feel that anyone who says they care about Real Ale is being tarred with the same narrow minded brush.

  4. I say 'hear hear' as well. It feels a little bit like people who really like and admire beer have been so defensive about their beverage of choice for so long that now that it's on the up-and-up, old habits are dying hard. Their turning defensive on their own fellow beer lovers. I say keep up the good work writing and drinking what interests you, even if it's not specifically real ale. One trick ponies aren't that much fun anyway!

  5. Well, the key point is that being in favour of real ale doesn't mean you're against every other form of beer. But the more difficult issue is whether you believe real ale is actually superior to all other forms of beer.

  6. I don't think you missed the point. I too am sick of this sterile debate, and I've come across some bad mannered and abusive people on both sides of the phoney argument.

    CAMRA campaigns FOR real ale, not against anything. Yes, you can find the real ale Taliban, but they're a tiny minority in my experience. I edit a local CAMRA mag and I won't allow criticism of other drinks, but a neighbouring branch's mag refers to non-real beer as "zombeers". Apart from being childish and a bit obscure to the casual reader, it's more likely to put people off than encourage them to try real ale.

    But I've also read grotesque stereotyping of CAMRA types on certain blogs that favour the new keg beer. A year or so ago, I challenged one particular a blogger about the sheer implausibiliy of the person he was supposedly describing; he then admitted he'd made most of it up. If you need to lie to make a point, why bother?

    Curmudgeon: real ale is - for me - superior to all other kinds of beer. But I confine that judgement to my own tastebuds, and accept that others hold a different view. A bit of "live and let live" is all that's required.

  7. Thanks Red Nev, you summed it up perfectly there- I agree totally with your last paragraph-beer is supposed to fun!

  8. I know I'm a bit late with this, but I wrote a post on my own blog and afterwards realised it fits with what you've written. At least I think it does - you may disagee!

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