Losing faith in CAMRA

This Forum is the main messageboard to discuss all things Claret and Blue and beyond
Post Reply
Pstotto
Posts: 4625
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:11 pm
Been Liked: 863 times
Has Liked: 670 times

Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Pstotto » Wed May 03, 2017 3:31 pm

Once upon a time in 1978 when I started to drink Real Ale, there was a guide to great pubs and ale called the CAMRA Real Ale Guide. Now it seems to have been taken over as merely a business promotion of any cask conditioned ale, epitomized in vouchers for Wetherspoons on joining.

It's now more like the sour old ale guide to being fleeced at the bar, as anyone and everyone jumps on the 'real ale' bandwagon for a quick profit. Unclean pipes and dirty tasting ale, often not fit for swill, as the reps do deals with the landlord for a shift of a dodgy product, under the auspices of any taste being 'a taste,' along the lines of any stinky cheese is stinky cheese for a nose that likes stink.

In the olden days of the beginning, it was more like the Michelin Guide where only the very best were awarded CAMRA status and that these establishment were to be 'kept on their toes' regarding inclusion in the guide year upon year.

I've now totally lost faith in the whole shebang.
This user liked this post: morpheus2

ElectroClaret
Posts: 10902
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:07 pm
Been Liked: 2849 times
Has Liked: 1457 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by ElectroClaret » Wed May 03, 2017 3:33 pm

Get yerself a Carling.
This user liked this post: Dyched

Pstotto
Posts: 4625
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:11 pm
Been Liked: 863 times
Has Liked: 670 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Pstotto » Wed May 03, 2017 3:40 pm

Hahahahahaha.... NO. I want real ale and I want it good.

I'm not entirely sure as to the psychology of your reply electro, to think I'm looking for a suggestion. I'm not looking for a suggestion. What I have done is send a letter to CAMRA about this matter.

Just to add... The beer in Kent is made from local tap water, that is barely fit for human consumption and full of limescale.
This user liked this post: Rowls

Rowls
Posts: 7591
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:00 pm
Been Liked: 2769 times
Has Liked: 2771 times
Location: Montpellier, France

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Rowls » Wed May 03, 2017 3:53 pm

I understand your frustration. The CAMRA guide is still my go-to guide for a good pint but it's only a guide.

I suspect that certain CAMRA associations are too cosy with landlords and no doubt that some pubs do NOT deserve to be included.

Wetherspoons have a good relationship with CAMRA because of the work they do to promote real ale. Whether you like Wetherspoons or not there's no doubting they provide the best value beer in the country. Whether their real ale is worth drinking depends strongly on how well the pub is being managed. I've had great pints in Wetherspoons and also suffered rank vinegar pints I had to refuse.

The CAMRA guide is just a guide. However, if you're not impressed with a pint and you're a CAMRA member then you can report this and influence which pubs are included in the guide next year.

I'd agree that there are a few too many pubs in the guide. Too many only have one or two real ale taps and are otherwise just nondescript industrial pubs. It'd be better if they only included pubs that genuinely made real ale the focus of the pub - as it should be.

Well done for writing to CAMRA - keep us updated on how they respond.

Whatever the outcome, it's a golden period for real ale. It's more popular than it's been for generations. OK, so it's getting supped by a bunch of trendy hipsters but I can deal with that if it means it's easier to find a good pint - and it is.

The pub scene in London, for example, has been transformed in the past 20 years. I used to dread having to go down south where the ale was pishy, any real ale would invariably be 'off' and there was a choice of three kinds of Carling.... These days London is a real ale dream.

Constructive criticism is vital to keep real ale as a valuable product as it should be but let's appreciate the beer culture that has grown rapidly over the past 20 or so years.
These 3 users liked this post: lucs86 Putneyclaret Lancasterclaret

Dyched
Posts: 4468
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:34 am
Been Liked: 1420 times
Has Liked: 332 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Dyched » Wed May 03, 2017 4:03 pm

Bloody hipsters eh?!
These 3 users liked this post: Pstotto Rowls KateR

Hendrickxz
Posts: 507
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:14 pm
Been Liked: 165 times
Has Liked: 42 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Hendrickxz » Wed May 03, 2017 4:04 pm

I understand what you are saying but are you getting confused between the Good Beer Guide which features pubs selected by local branch members or some other guide? I generally find that pubs in the Good Beer Guide meet the brief of offering well-kept real ale, many from local brewers. However, this can go to pot fairly rapidly if pubs change hands, owners, etc. I also think that here in East Lancashire certain pubs get more attention than others because they are "favourites" of the local committee members who hold their socials and presentations there and get the brown nose treatment whenever they cross the threshold. No names, no pack drill as my dad used to say!

Pstotto
Posts: 4625
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:11 pm
Been Liked: 863 times
Has Liked: 670 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Pstotto » Wed May 03, 2017 4:13 pm

I'm not entirely sure it's a golden age for real age, I think it's gone back to the dark ages. The amount of pumps is often a sign of badly kept ale, as a proliferation of 'vinegar' of one's choice, as the beers don't get sold as quickly and the pipes contend with different ales being put on. I still have fond memories of my first pint of Marston's Pedigree and a fantastic beef sandwich at the Cheshire Cheese on Fleet st. when it was the hacks hang-out and there was a flow of the right stuff. Now that pub has lost it, it doesn't have the same clientele to keep it on its toes.

I think a pub with just one or two bitters is more reliable. When I first started drinking, it was one bitter usually and maybe two and the quality was fantastic. Now the standards have dropped in the name of consumer 'choice,' methinks.

cricketfieldclarets
Posts: 18666
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:59 pm
Been Liked: 7215 times
Has Liked: 10002 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by cricketfieldclarets » Wed May 03, 2017 4:17 pm

Real ale is playing a huge part in keeping pubs alive. If thats on offer in more places then even better.
This user liked this post: evensteadiereddie

Pstotto
Posts: 4625
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:11 pm
Been Liked: 863 times
Has Liked: 670 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Pstotto » Wed May 03, 2017 4:18 pm

I think I agree Hendrickxx, that there's probably a beer 'mafia' at work, among those 'in the club' of CAMRA, like all organizations, they soon become corrupted by personal politics.

Rowls
Posts: 7591
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:00 pm
Been Liked: 2769 times
Has Liked: 2771 times
Location: Montpellier, France

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Rowls » Wed May 03, 2017 4:27 pm

Pstotto wrote:I'm not entirely sure it's a golden age for real age, I think it's gone back to the dark ages. The amount of pumps is often a sign of badly kept ale, as a proliferation of 'vinegar' of one's choice, as the beers don't get sold as quickly and the pipes contend with different ales being put on. I still have fond memories of my first pint of Marston's Pedigree and a fantastic beef sandwich at the Cheshire Cheese on Fleet st. when it was the hacks hang-out and there was a flow of the right stuff. Now that pub has lost it, it doesn't have the same clientele to keep it on its toes.

I think a pub with just one or two bitters is more reliable. When I first started drinking, it was one bitter usually and maybe two and the quality was fantastic. Now the standards have dropped in the name of consumer 'choice,' methinks.
Hmmmm, accept the point about "choice" - too many pubs are offering a choice of beer when they aren't selling enough to get through a cask before it starts to turn.

Pubs should only offer as much real ale as they can serve well. One or two well-kept ales is infinitely better than 10 badly kept ales.

There are too many beers trying to be too different too. Too many hops, too extreme in their taste, too strong in ABV - there are a lot of sins committed out there. Call me old-fashioned but I like my beer to taste of, well, beer.

Partly this is the fault of "craft beer" but at least this is a step up from the 80s when the beer industry only wanted us to chug back cold, tasteless lager. If it takes a bunch of hipsters with silly beards and bad clothes to make people actually pay attention to how their beer tastes then I don't mind. Craft ale isn't (necessarily) real ale but at least it promotes a culture which *cares* about beer.

However, I DO maintain it's a golden period for real ale. When I first moved to Nottingham in 1999 there were only one or two pubs that served half-decent real ale. There was a proliferation of cheap, watery, pishy "Mansfield Smooth" keg crapola everywhere you went. I didn't dare drink the real ale in most pubs. They wouldn't let you taste it, it was often vinegar and they'd cause a fuss or even refuse a request to return a bad pint. These days there are pubs EVERYWHERE serving good real ale. They're not all excellent but the vast majority are competent and keep their ale well.

Nottingham went from having one or two pubs doing real ale to having more than I can recall now. At least 20 off the top of my head. This happened in the space of 17 years. When I was back in March two more new pubs had opened which both served good, proper pints.
This user liked this post: CleggHall

Quickenthetempo
Posts: 9985
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:35 am
Been Liked: 2236 times
Has Liked: 1254 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Quickenthetempo » Wed May 03, 2017 4:27 pm

I don't think the 200 pound the landlord has to pay to get in good beer guides help. If you don't pay you get left out so it's not impartial.
Not many pubs still going that don't do Real Ale or food.

Rowls
Posts: 7591
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:00 pm
Been Liked: 2769 times
Has Liked: 2771 times
Location: Montpellier, France

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Rowls » Wed May 03, 2017 4:29 pm

Pstotto wrote:I think I agree Hendrickxx, that there's probably a beer 'mafia' at work, among those 'in the club' of CAMRA, like all organizations, they soon become corrupted by personal politics.
Agree this is a problem but it is not inevitable. How can you maintain the honesty of CAMRA recommendations? Join CAMRA and insist your local branch only recommends pubs with good real ale!

Hendrickxz
Posts: 507
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:14 pm
Been Liked: 165 times
Has Liked: 42 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Hendrickxz » Wed May 03, 2017 4:42 pm

Rowls wrote:Agree this is a problem but it is not inevitable. How can you maintain the honesty of CAMRA recommendations? Join CAMRA and insist your local branch only recommends pubs with good real ale!
Aye, but will they still get their free buffet! Also, I am not sure that pubs have to pay £200 to be in the Good Beer Guide? I thought it was purely on "merit". My local didn't know it was going in until iot was published.

CleggHall
Posts: 2281
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:07 am
Been Liked: 599 times
Has Liked: 810 times
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by CleggHall » Wed May 03, 2017 4:44 pm

Agree with many of the points above but southern beer really was awful in the 1960s, early 70s. I went to university in Reading 1963 and you sure needed courage to sample Courages. Many pubs put free bottles of lemonade on the bar to top up your pint and take the edge off it. I believe CAMRA was formed by exiled Lancastrians who took on Watneys, Whitbread, Courage etc - we should be thankful to them. Richard Boston's column Boston on Beer in Saturday's Guardian in the 1970s also contributed to the campaign.
This user liked this post: evensteadiereddie

evensteadiereddie
Posts: 6293
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:45 pm
Been Liked: 1896 times
Has Liked: 5420 times
Location: Staffordshire

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by evensteadiereddie » Wed May 03, 2017 5:59 pm

I've not encountered any problems with the local guides or with local CAMRA "politics" down here since joining at the Manchester Festival a couple of months ago.
Mind you, I live six miles from Burton so 'nuff said. I have to say the number of microbreweries springing up round here and producing fabulous beers is truly astonishing.
Nationally speaking, it must be difficult for CAMRA to keep up with developments.

KateR
Posts: 2323
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:46 pm
Been Liked: 440 times
Has Liked: 3026 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by KateR » Wed May 03, 2017 6:05 pm

I bought my son and hubby membership for Christmas as it was for 2, both do like their real beer and hubby will not drink lager at all, or the stuff in US that he calls pish, but youngest son has lived in Houston long time since he was 7 so he does drink US beers and he gets quite some stick for it which I always smile at when they start going on, but do not get involved in :)

Pstotto
Posts: 4625
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:11 pm
Been Liked: 863 times
Has Liked: 670 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Pstotto » Wed May 03, 2017 6:10 pm

American hops is now all the rage in the UK, Kate.

Regarding Burton, it probably became a brewing town because of the quality of the water. It's the main ingredient and if one can't stomach a pint of the local water then why try making beer from it? I still have fond memories of a pint of Ind Coope Burton Ale drunk by the river in Oxford in 1980 (sad I know.)

Like I wrote before, Kent water is disgusting and folk make beer from it. It's on to a loser for starters, unless one is a Kentish man with a limescale-lined stomach.
This user liked this post: evensteadiereddie

Luisfigo
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:41 pm
Been Liked: 3 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Luisfigo » Wed May 03, 2017 6:15 pm

Pstotto wrote:I'm not entirely sure it's a golden age for real age, I think it's gone back to the dark ages. The amount of pumps is often a sign of badly kept ale, as a proliferation of 'vinegar' of one's choice, as the beers don't get sold as quickly and the pipes contend with different ales being put on. I still have fond memories of my first pint of Marston's Pedigree and a fantastic beef sandwich at the Cheshire Cheese on Fleet st. when it was the hacks hang-out and there was a flow of the right stuff. Now that pub has lost it, it doesn't have the same clientele to keep it on its toes.
The Cheshire cheese is a Sam Smiths pub now, offering the usual 'in house' fare. I still think it's worth a visit.

Pstotto
Posts: 4625
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:11 pm
Been Liked: 863 times
Has Liked: 670 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Pstotto » Wed May 03, 2017 6:19 pm

Hmmm. I went a few years back and the interior had been ruined by a modernization and extension. I'd still have a pint there, if in the locale, actually there a few pubs around there to drink in, last time I was there.

evensteadiereddie
Posts: 6293
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:45 pm
Been Liked: 1896 times
Has Liked: 5420 times
Location: Staffordshire

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by evensteadiereddie » Wed May 03, 2017 6:20 pm

It is indeed the water wot does it....quite ironically, however, Doombar and Wainwright's are also brewed here with the Doombar, especially, being particularly vile not at all like the Cornish version is/used to be.

South West Claret.
Posts: 5019
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:55 pm
Been Liked: 695 times
Has Liked: 469 times
Location: Devon

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by South West Claret. » Wed May 03, 2017 6:28 pm

Quickenthetempo wrote:I don't think the 200 pound the landlord has to pay to get in good beer guides help. If you don't pay you get left out so it's not impartial.
Not many pubs still going that don't do Real Ale or food.
£200 to get listed in the GBG? no not true unless it is a bribe.

BigRedrose
Posts: 291
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:26 pm
Been Liked: 107 times
Has Liked: 57 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by BigRedrose » Wed May 03, 2017 6:30 pm

If you are having problems with the pubs/beer/quality in your area Pstotto, I suggest you take it up with your local branch. Remember ALL the pubs selected for the GBG are surveyed by local members. Like others, I use the guide as a 'go to' when on unfamiliar territory and for the most part find it accurate. ( Only last Saturday our group visited some super pubs with excellent beer in the Croydon area prior to the Palace match).
CAMRA have done an amazing job over the last 40 years and have become one of the most successful consumer pressure groups in the country, with approaching 250,000 members.
God knows where we would be without CAMRA.
These 4 users liked this post: South West Claret. evensteadiereddie Rowls THEWELLERNUT70

BigRedrose
Posts: 291
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:26 pm
Been Liked: 107 times
Has Liked: 57 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by BigRedrose » Wed May 03, 2017 6:38 pm

I agree with South West Claret, NO WAY are pubs asked to pay £200 to be in the GBG. All real ale establishments in an area are surveyed and selected by local members.

South West Claret.
Posts: 5019
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:55 pm
Been Liked: 695 times
Has Liked: 469 times
Location: Devon

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by South West Claret. » Wed May 03, 2017 6:44 pm

What BigRed said couldn't have put it better my self.

Bop
Posts: 662
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:48 pm
Been Liked: 172 times
Has Liked: 309 times
Location: Sandbach

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Bop » Wed May 03, 2017 6:48 pm

Palace away is the worst I've experienced for a while for lacking decent pubs / beer.

Herts Clarets
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 6:18 pm
Been Liked: 869 times
Has Liked: 339 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Herts Clarets » Wed May 03, 2017 6:48 pm

Cask Doombar is still brewed in Cornwall, it's the bottled stuff that is made in Burton. Kent ale being crap must be a reference to Shepherd Neame? Some of their ales aren't very good but i do like the India Pale Ale, Double Stout and the 1692.

Agree there is an over proliferation of massively hopped ales at the moment, since are very good but it is good to try something with a little variety. If you drink bottled ales,then i highly recommend Spill the Beans from Aldi. I porter with coffee/chocolate notes, 4.4% so very drinkable and 99p per bottle.
These 2 users liked this post: evensteadiereddie Rowls

DCWat
Posts: 4561
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:04 am
Been Liked: 1793 times
Has Liked: 1531 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by DCWat » Wed May 03, 2017 7:15 pm

Pstotto wrote:Hahahahahaha.... NO. I want real ale and I want it good.

I'm not entirely sure as to the psychology of your reply electro, to think I'm looking for a suggestion. I'm not looking for a suggestion. What I have done is send a letter to CAMRA about this matter.

Just to add... The beer in Kent is made from local tap water, that is barely fit for human consumption and full of limescale.
Eya Frank, see if you can tell what the hell this fella is on about :lol:

Pstotto
Posts: 4625
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:11 pm
Been Liked: 863 times
Has Liked: 670 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Pstotto » Wed May 03, 2017 7:15 pm

I'm not looking for suggestions as to do something. I did do something, I wrote directly to CAMRA, as previously stated, along the lines of the original post, as a share of my thoughts.
This user liked this post: Rowls

Quickenthetempo
Posts: 9985
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:35 am
Been Liked: 2236 times
Has Liked: 1254 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Quickenthetempo » Wed May 03, 2017 7:26 pm

Could I of been mixed up with the Good pub guide? Just remember a beer blogger sounding off about it.

TheFamilyCat
Posts: 6129
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:56 pm
Been Liked: 3052 times
Has Liked: 81 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by TheFamilyCat » Wed May 03, 2017 7:30 pm

There's plenty of good beer out there and plenty of good pubs to drink it in.

Picking the right pub, for me is only an issue when in an area I'm not familiar with.

Otherwise, I know where I want to drink, just the same as those who pick a pub because they want to sing karaoke/ have a fight/ pull a granny etc.

Indecisive
Posts: 332
Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 8:21 pm
Been Liked: 213 times
Has Liked: 44 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Indecisive » Wed May 03, 2017 8:07 pm

Never been charged for an entry in the good beer guide.

We keep 6 well kept real ales. Beyond a house ale and a nutty black mild we rotate the other casks through various breweries across the North West. Probably had a good couple of 100 of different beers on over the last 3 years, covering a range of styles.

Real ale wise the choose is incredible at the minute, and a number of breweries are brewing some top quality craft beer in kegs (not always as popular with some of the camra purist) as well. There are some wacky flavours and varoties, but I don't see that as a negative. Never had any dealings with dodgy reps either. Any decent landlord is only going to stock beer his customers will drink. Usually you can tell as soon as you walk in a pub if the owners talk pride in what they do.

It seems a bit of as weird thread, and I can only assume pstotto has had a few bad experiences in his local area with recommended pubs. In the West lancs and Merseyside listings, I'm familiar with the majority, and you would get a good pint in all of them.

Local Camra groups vary from area to area, but from my experience, aren't after something for nothing, and genuinely just have a keen interest in beer. Some groups (Merseyside in particular) run some fantastic beer festivals.

Ultimately the real ale and beer market in general is the best it's ever been for the consumer in terms of variety and choice. Still difficult times for a lot of pubs and hardworking landlords though. ..
These 3 users liked this post: CleggHall Rowls THEWELLERNUT70

Dark Cloud
Posts: 3702
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:03 am
Been Liked: 1016 times
Has Liked: 1228 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Dark Cloud » Wed May 03, 2017 8:11 pm

Bop wrote:Palace away is the worst I've experienced for a while for lacking decent pubs / beer.
We had a great day out in Croyden on Saturday sampling real ale in a lot of excellent pubs, some of which were in "the guide" this year and some of which have been at one time recently. Now Watford for example, that WAS crap!
Last edited by Dark Cloud on Wed May 03, 2017 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Indecisive
Posts: 332
Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 8:21 pm
Been Liked: 213 times
Has Liked: 44 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Indecisive » Wed May 03, 2017 8:15 pm

Dark Cloud wrote: It was no where near as crap as Watford for example.
I thought we were just unlucky with the pubs we went in there. Obviously not :lol:

Dark Cloud
Posts: 3702
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:03 am
Been Liked: 1016 times
Has Liked: 1228 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Dark Cloud » Wed May 03, 2017 8:22 pm

Indecisive wrote:I thought we were just unlucky with the pubs we went in there. Obviously not :lol:
No, not unlucky! I was advised (by Big Redrose among others) to avoid Watford as it's a real ale desert and travel to Euston for pre match real ale and then travel back up in time for kick off. But I chose to ignore said advice and found just one (maybe 2) decent pubs. And nowt else! It was rubbish. Leicester on the other hand was brilliant and we only did about a third of the good pubs on offer.

Jakubclaret
Posts: 3094
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:47 pm
Been Liked: 362 times
Has Liked: 276 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Jakubclaret » Wed May 03, 2017 10:20 pm

Brew your own it's cheaper & tastes better. Just make sure you sterilise everything & keep a eye on the Hydrometer before syphoning into the pressure barrel.

ClaretEngineer
Posts: 1630
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:39 am
Been Liked: 628 times
Has Liked: 404 times
Location: Chalfont St. Giles

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by ClaretEngineer » Wed May 03, 2017 10:30 pm

evensteadiereddie wrote:It is indeed the water wot does it....quite ironically, however, Doombar and Wainwright's are also brewed here with the Doombar, especially, being particularly vile not at all like the Cornish version is/used to be.
The maker of Doom Bar has been taken over my Molson Coors (or whoever).

I was fortunate to be able to sample a real pint of it in Cornwall. The bottled stuff is insulting by comparison!

Polesworth
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:25 am
Been Liked: 18 times
Has Liked: 4 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Polesworth » Wed May 03, 2017 10:34 pm

I've just returned from my local CAMRA branch meeting (Lichfield , Tamworth & Sutton)and seen the thread.

There is definitely no charge for entry into CAMRA's Good Beer Guide. The pubs entered in the guide are selected and voted on by the local branch members. This follows regular surveys of the pubs by members to check quality of beer is maintained throughout the year. Also considered are beer scores submitted by drinkers using the CAMRA 'app'. There's no funding for this as all members are volunteers who share the same passion for good beer.
If anything entry into the GBG has actually become more discerning over the years. If memory serves me right in the 1980's there were some 6000 pubs in the GBG whereas today there are nearer 4500.
At the end of the day any good pub will always change a pint if the beer is passed its best and should top up the glass to ensure a full pint.
When following The Clarets always check out the GBG and whatpub.com which is maintained by CAMRA members before you travel to guarantee a good pint.
Cheers and UTC.
These 2 users liked this post: Rowls evensteadiereddie

Dressinggown
Posts: 721
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:24 pm
Been Liked: 489 times
Has Liked: 73 times
Location: Padiham

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Dressinggown » Wed May 03, 2017 11:06 pm

The whole real ale market seems to be awash with over-hopped blonde beers which have a dry / bitter taste.

Is this in reaction to the recent popularity of craft beers or does it keep longer in the cellar than other brews ?

It is becoming hard to find a traditional pint of bitter in some real ale pubs although a recent pint of Bass in The Rifle Volunteer was top notch.
These 2 users liked this post: Garnerssoap Rowls

starting_11
Been Liked: 1 time
Has Liked: 526 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by starting_11 » Thu May 04, 2017 12:11 am

Polesworth wrote:I've just returned from my local CAMRA branch meeting (Lichfield , Tamworth & Sutton)and seen the thread.

There is definitely no charge for entry into CAMRA's Good Beer Guide. The pubs entered in the guide are selected and voted on by the local branch members. This follows regular surveys of the pubs by members to check quality of beer is maintained throughout the year. Also considered are beer scores submitted by drinkers using the CAMRA 'app'. There's no funding for this as all members are volunteers who share the same passion for good beer.
If anything entry into the GBG has actually become more discerning over the years. If memory serves me right in the 1980's there were some 6000 pubs in the GBG whereas today there are nearer 4500.
At the end of the day any good pub will always change a pint if the beer is passed its best and should top up the glass to ensure a full pint.
When following The Clarets always check out the GBG and whatpub.com which is maintained by CAMRA members before you travel to guarantee a good pint.
Cheers and UTC.

Do you ever get further south Polesworth? I used to live near Coleshill - u recommend any boozers round there/shustoke etc?

Garnerssoap
Posts: 996
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:50 pm
Been Liked: 302 times
Has Liked: 442 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Garnerssoap » Thu May 04, 2017 12:31 am

Bass in a barrel glass from the rifle volunteer has been the highlight of my season
These 2 users liked this post: Rowls Pstotto

Rowls
Posts: 7591
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:00 pm
Been Liked: 2769 times
Has Liked: 2771 times
Location: Montpellier, France

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Rowls » Thu May 04, 2017 2:21 am

Garnerssoap wrote:Bass in a barrel glass from the rifle volunteer has been the highlight of my season
A very good local's local. Friendly too.

Highly recommended, even if the local Labour Party drink there! :)

CharlieinNewMexico
Posts: 1578
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:53 am
Been Liked: 371 times
Has Liked: 333 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by CharlieinNewMexico » Thu May 04, 2017 7:25 am

There's a lot of stick given to American beers but that's because you're thinking of the mass produced stuff KateR. When I moved away from Richmond last year it had 12 microbreweries (population 500k) and even down here in little old Las Cruces there are 5 (population 90k).
For me the best template for an ale bar was in Richmond...small place, only 6 taps, one for each style, and each style they bought one or maybe 2 kegs tops. So it was constantly changing, you never got bored, the beer never went bad, and it was quietly busy without being nuts.

_Soclaretes_
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:37 am
Been Liked: 130 times
Has Liked: 283 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by _Soclaretes_ » Thu May 04, 2017 8:37 am

Pstotto wrote:Once upon a time in 1978 when I started to drink Real Ale, there was a guide to great pubs and ale called the CAMRA Real Ale Guide. Now it seems to have been taken over as merely a business promotion of any cask conditioned ale, epitomized in vouchers for Wetherspoons on joining.

It's now more like the sour old ale guide to being fleeced at the bar, as anyone and everyone jumps on the 'real ale' bandwagon for a quick profit. Unclean pipes and dirty tasting ale, often not fit for swill, as the reps do deals with the landlord for a shift of a dodgy product, under the auspices of any taste being 'a taste,' along the lines of any stinky cheese is stinky cheese for a nose that likes stink.

In the olden days of the beginning, it was more like the Michelin Guide where only the very best were awarded CAMRA status and that these establishment were to be 'kept on their toes' regarding inclusion in the guide year upon year.

I've now totally lost faith in the whole shebang.
So you're like the first EVER hipster? I agree though, it is now way too popular to be cool or niche.

Pstotto
Posts: 4625
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:11 pm
Been Liked: 863 times
Has Liked: 670 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Pstotto » Thu May 04, 2017 9:17 am

I had a choice of... Uber Hop last night. It's like drinking grapefruit juice and even a shot of it, would be enough. How I would love a pint of Bass like garnersoap had. Trad .beers well kept is, is my personal taste.

Soclaretes, I even went on a CAMRA Real Ale Guide cycling holiday in 1980! And now I'm the first person in the UK to grow a Fu Manchu since Christopher Lee. Watch how it becomes fashionable in the wake of my genius. ;-)
This user liked this post: Rowls

Sausage
Posts: 1000
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:48 am
Been Liked: 624 times
Has Liked: 417 times
Location: London

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Sausage » Thu May 04, 2017 10:17 am

Pstotto - as someone who lives on the Kent/South East London boundary I can't agree that the water is undrinkable. I think it tastes infinitely better than the flouride-tainted stuff I get at my mum and dad's back in Burnley. The only thing that p!sses me off is the limescale which accumulates faster than dandruff on a tramp. My kettle is unusable within a month of descaling.

I've done a bit of brewing in my time and I've always laboured under the (mis)apprehension that hard water is better for brewing. Hence, when brewing in Burnley I would always add gypsum and epsom salts to the water. When I failed to do this the beer tasted a bit soapy. Kentish water should therefore be perfect for brewing.

Anyway, if you want a decent, non-hipster, less-than-wanky, pint of decent Kentish ale, try Permanent Wood from Tonbridge Brewery. Good session beer with a decent balance between the malt and hops.

Pstotto
Posts: 4625
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:11 pm
Been Liked: 863 times
Has Liked: 670 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Pstotto » Thu May 04, 2017 9:15 pm

Hmm, I know nothing of brewing but I'm interested in what makes the right water for what kind of pint. I think Estrella Damm from Barcelona must have followed your recipe cos when I lived there and had to drink the stuff, it was just as if gyspsum and epsom salts were in it. Foul tasting and a foul hangover after only three pints of the stuff.

I see Tonbrige on the taps from time to time, I had a taste of one recently but it wasn't the one you mention. it was too tasty. Just had a pint of Mad Goose Purity Pale Ale at the Betjamin on St. Pancras St. It seemed fresh but it was really acrid and bitter, certainly not an easy drinker.

They all seem to be like that daaan saaf.

Rowls
Posts: 7591
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:00 pm
Been Liked: 2769 times
Has Liked: 2771 times
Location: Montpellier, France

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Rowls » Thu May 04, 2017 10:25 pm

Pstotto wrote:And now I'm the first person in the UK to grow a Fu Manchu since Christopher Lee. Watch how it becomes fashionable in the wake of my genius. ;-)
Sorry but I grew one of these before I went to China 3 years ago.

So I'd fit in.

evensteadiereddie
Posts: 6293
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:45 pm
Been Liked: 1896 times
Has Liked: 5420 times
Location: Staffordshire

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by evensteadiereddie » Thu May 04, 2017 10:34 pm

The Burton water is very hard and rich in sulphates, calcium in particular I think and the water was pumped straight from some of the wells up until 1981.
Mains water now is used with the necessary additives, a process called, strangely enough, "burtonisation"...
This user liked this post: Rowls

Pstotto
Posts: 4625
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:11 pm
Been Liked: 863 times
Has Liked: 670 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Pstotto » Fri May 05, 2017 12:03 am

Rowls, was it a genuine Fu Manchu, or just a simulacrum of one i.e. bits grown on the face down the side, as opposed to actually having tails down the side from the top lip? And how long did you grow it? I'm still at the research/development stage, I have to admit.

Eversteady, chemicals isn't the same, is it? That's like John Smiths, it's like getting a pint of water and adding a beer sachet and then stirring round the powder.

Pstotto
Posts: 4625
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:11 pm
Been Liked: 863 times
Has Liked: 670 times

Re: Losing faith in CAMRA

Post by Pstotto » Fri May 05, 2017 12:11 am

https://youtu.be/LvbaIkh8oQg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; This is about where's it's at right now (again.) I originally got rid of it, soon after, as it attracted to much hatred, but now I don't care.

Just to add about Burton water. maybe that was an EU directive and that now Brexit has happened, they can go back to the original source.

Post Reply