CAMRA chairman angry at BA magazine article

Reads 23887 • Replies 192 • Started Sunday, May 29, 2011 3:15:27 AM CT

The forums you're viewing are the static, archived version. You won't be able to post or reply here.
Our new, modern forums are here:
RateBeer Forums

Thread Frozen
 
InvalidStout
05:56 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by Erlangernick
Seriously, I’d instantly trade all 270(?) breweries in Franconia for a half dozen of the better English and Welsh cask breweries I’ve encountered.


It’s a deal. When can you send them over?

 
Fin
beers 15061 º places 1544 º 06:28 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by InvalidStout
Originally posted by Erlangernick
Seriously, I’d instantly trade all 270(?) breweries in Franconia for a half dozen of the better English and Welsh cask breweries I’ve encountered.


It’s a deal. When can you send them over?


Yes, I’ll do a swapsie with you, btw Invalidstout he never mentioned Scottish cask breweries so I guess that your offer is null & void

 
Tim Webb
beers 502 º places 622 º 07:02 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by SaintMatty
I think the article was written by Tim Webb, although I’ve not read it.



Yes, I wrote it in one of my regular columns. Here is an extract:


Has CAMRA stunted the growth of British beer?


We British are an island people. We may know more of the world beyond our shores than our Americans counterparts but then we live in a smaller place. Like goldfish in a bowl, we have little sense of proportion. We know what we like and don’t like and we don’t like change.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) was a singularly British idea, dreamt up in 1971 by four young journalists holidaying in Ireland. Fantasizing as young men do about making the world a better place, they decided to start with beer.

The ‘60s had seen mass movements to counter war, poverty, famine and injustice. The ‘70s would be about changing the day-to-day. Dull 1970s beer was about to be squeezed back to the future.

There had been consumerism in food and drink before CAMRA .... a single-issue campaign. Its simple message was, “Old beer good – new beer bad”.

In this context ‘old’ meant cask-fermented ales served with no added CO2, served usually straight from the barrel or hand-pulled to the bar counter. Such ales became ‘real’, while the rest acquired less wholesome names, including ‘foreign’.

This began a patchwork global uprising that saw Charlie Papazian and others home-brew great beer back into the US mainstream and spawned a dozen national beer drinker groups across Europe. The global brewpub and microbrewery revolution had begun.

But then the awkward question. Has CAMRA fallen victim to the law of unintended consequences? By deifying a limited range of virtually unexportable ale styles, did CAMRA fossilise British beer culture in a spoof version of the 1950s?

What stops me admitting this is so? Sentimentality?

Everyone should waste a substantial part of their youth on a hopeless cause. Mine was beer – though we won!

Or maybe it is because the proposition is only half true.

CAMRA’s double standard of tolerating abhorrent grain and hop substitutions while maintaining an autistic stance on fermentation offends all logic.

I get deeply embarrassed when the Great British Beer Festival refuses to use CO2 on any beer because it might offend campaigners, regardless of whether the beer is designed to be recarbonated.

The failure to challenge the narrow British obsession with beers drunk in measures of 20 fl. oz. Imperial is galling too.

On the other hand find any quality website about beer and CAMRA-inspired Brits will be there, enthusing away. And even the smallest CAMRA-run festival nowadays sells ‘foreign beers’.

The last three decades have seen consumers generally kicking against the standardisation of food and drink by global corporations. CAMRA started beer’s contribution to that, so maybe we should forgive its occasional spats of xenophobic myopia? Maybe.

Recent surveys report a massive increase in the proportion of British drinkers who have given ‘real ale’ a try – 38 years after it was first suggested. Over half now take the plunge. With the alternatives reduced to a shallow range of piss poor grain sodas, who knows, uncarbonated draft may yet become the UK’s favourite style.

Maybe a bunch of young British journalists holidaying in Belgium, Gemany or the US could start a group to campaign for more foreign influence on UK craft brewing?

What a splendid idea. I might even join.

 
chriso
beers 7540 º places 736 º 07:22 Tue 5/31/2011

Thanks for the extract Tim. Of course, now I’ve been enlightenmed by Mr Valentine, I can safely ignore all that as you are now a "once-respected" beer writer. And there was I making the mistake of "respecting" what you write. Must get hold of some of Mr Valentine’s books and writings to see how it’s done properly, or should I say "respectably".

Sorry I didn’t get the chance to say hello in Copenhagen - I was too busy drinking non-real foreign muck I suppose.

 
SilkTork
beers 7070 º places 108 º 08:03 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by SamGamgee
Originally posted by SilkTork
Originally posted by otakuden
craft beer is real ale and real ale is craft beer. they both stand for the same thing so it’s really a silly debate, imo. whether it’s filtered or unfiltered, what matters is the beer itself and the men and women who brew it, the community, and the men and women who love to drink these artisanal beers, both real ale and craft included.

i can drink to that


No they don’t stand for the same thing. There is a deep rooted misunderstanding regarding what CAMRA are about and what "craft beer" signifies.

They have similarities, but are very different.

CAMRA positions itself as a supporter of fresh, unfiltered beer.

Craft beer positions itself as a supporter of small brewers.

CAMRA supports fresh beer regardless of who makes it.

Craft beer supports filtered beer as long as it is made by a small brewer.


CAMRA supports fresh beer. Craft brewers don’t always sell fresh beer.

If a craft brewer ensures that its beer is always served fresh and without forced carbonation, then it would come under CAMRA’s umbrella.





I think it’s somewhat inaccurate to use the term "fresh" to exclude filtered products. There is filtered beer and unfiltered beer. Then there is fined beer, which could then be filtered or not. Fining a beer accomplished much of what filtering does, as does using mechanical separation via centrifuge. Fresh beer is unoxidized beer, in my opinion. Usually younger in age.

I also wouldn’t say that craft brewers support filtration. They are far too varied in opinion on the matter.


You’re right. I should have used "live" instead of "fresh". The two terms got conflated in my mind. I have used "fresh" on several forums on this debate when what I meant all along was "live".

I don’t think I’m that bothered to go back and change them all....

 
JorisPPattyn
beers 12680 º places 86 º 08:12 Tue 5/31/2011

I wonder how CAMRA gets on at EBCU meetings?


Ah, I have at least a partial answer on that one. They have a sensible - at least - if maybe not entirely honest (that’s putting it mildly) way of forwarding the more moderate, sensible people for contacting all those bl**dy foreigners who are at home in that infernal Brussels, as Terry Lock, Iain Loe,...

 
SilkTork
beers 7070 º places 108 º 08:14 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by InvalidStout
Originally posted by Mjollnir
Originally posted by tdtm82
This Conference believes in the beneficial health effects of real ale and believes that other ale products with chemical and gas additives can have a detrimental effect on public health. Conference believes that the differences between the two are significant and measurable, but acknowledges that research on this area has so far been minimal. Conference therefore resolves that CAMRA shall work with other interested parties to quantify the differences in health terms between real ale and other ale products.

Proposed by West Lancashire Branch

MOTION 14 - Passed

source - Camra homepage


I think CAMRA just trolled itself?



Unfortunately quoting accurately would have given a result much less amusing to CAMRA-bashers:

MOTION 13 - Defeated
This Conference believes in the beneficial health effects of real ale and believes that other ale products with chemical and gas additives can have a detrimental effect on public health. Conference believes that the differences between the two are significant and measurable, but acknowledges that research on this area has so far been minimal. Conference therefore resolves that CAMRA shall work with other interested parties to quantify the differences in health terms between real ale and other ale products.

Proposed by West Lancashire Branch



Also interesting:

MOTION 12 - Defeated
Amended - This Conference recognises the importance of beer festivals to CAMRA in promoting real ale, real cider and real perry. As such, it encourages the Organisers of CAMRA beer festivals not to offer to the public, either directly or indirectly, alcoholic drinks other than real ale, real cider and real perry. Quality bottled beers from overseas countries that do not have a "Real Ale in a Bottle" tradition may be allowed at the Festival Organisers’ discretion.

Proposed by Ron Elder
Seconded by Roger Preece


 
SilkTork
beers 7070 º places 108 º 08:33 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by JorisPPattyn
Originally posted by harrisoni
There has been so much rubbish written in the last few months about craft/keg/good beer in the UK in the past few months. Anyone who thinks the Campaign for Real Ale will support keg beer just does not have the ability to read and understand words written in English. Does this make Camra wrong? No of cousre it does not. It means its the campaign for real ale. Blimey.


Ian, you’re utterly missing the point what this is all about. Of course CAMRA hasn’t to stand for kegged beer, if they don’t like it.
This is about having the right on a divergent opinion, and voice it, even if almighty CAMRA doesn’t agree. Anybody daring to maintain that in all kinds of beer there might be a piece of gold, and everybody that dares to say he would prefer a good bottle-conditioned beer to a poor cask, is immediately vilified by a vociferous minority in CAMRA.
And on top of that, the CAMRA chairman indulged in a free attack on the people he percieves as a threat - and in a very uncouth way, at that - who were in no position to defend themselves.

I think there has been some misunderstanding going on Joris. Your remarks seem to imply that you feel that the chairman was speaking on behalf of the membership to the general public. He was not. He was speaking as an individual to CAMRA members. And as an individual he seemed quite angry about stuff he had been reading where people were suggesting that CAMRA should promote keg beer. He was giving his personal reaction to that, and his personal position as chairman. If the members don’t agree with his position they can vote him out.

He was, it seems, initially provoked by a little known article in the BA magazine.

It would be useful to see that article, and if somebody could scan it and upload it somewhere that would be great.

I don’t quite follow your comment that beer bloggers are in no position to defend themselves! I think it has been the beer bloggers who have brought his speech to the attention of the general beer community. I first became aware of it from FaceBook links to Martyn’s blog, though other bloggers have also covered the story - some supportive of CAMRA.

 
SaintMatty
beers 9368 º places 378 º 08:39 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by SilkTork





He was, it seems, initially provoked by a little known article in the BA magazine.

It would be useful to see that article, and if somebody could scan it and upload it somewhere that would be great.




Tim Webb has already pasted the article above :)

 
chriso
beers 7540 º places 736 º 08:53 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by SilkTork
I think there has been some misunderstanding going on Joris. Your remarks seem to imply that you feel that the chairman was speaking on behalf of the membership to the general public. He was not. He was speaking as an individual to CAMRA members.

Oh, I thought that was his Chairman’s address. Obviously, I don’t know how the CAMRA national executive committee / full time staff run things but, having been involved in chairing and speaking on behalf of executive committees at conferences a fair few times in my union days, there was usually a "line to take" agreed collectively for this sort of thing. Certainly, in my experience, executive committee members, chairman or otherwise, were not allowed to speak in a personal capacity. Or, at least, if they did it would be regarded as a serious breach of protocol.