Saturday 27 January 2018

Oh sweet Sneck

The chimbley is the first thing you see on the way to the Jennings, a wonderful old brewery in Cumbria. Part of Marstons their beer range has been cut back recently, so no seasonal beers are produced and of the core range only two are now bottled.

On the plus side all four of the core range are available on draught, so after a hard day's hill based heroism the dark delights of Sneck Lifter can still warm the cockles of your heart.

It's grim up north
The weather was a trifle inclement on my last trip to the Lake District so once I was back to the comfort of the pub it was no time for sipping session beers. Straight onto the Sneck Lifter, it was so good I didn't even begrudge the sparkler. Definitely the best beer of the trip, I do hope the rather worrying reduction in beers produced at Jennings goes no further.

Sunday 21 January 2018

Revitalisation or revisionism?

There is only one lie, there is only one truth
There is the lie of revisionism and opportunism
Of all hues
The lie of kegism and reaction
And there is the truth of CAMRAism-Protzkyism
Of casking and conditioning

The CAMRA revitalisation process seems to be finally drawing to an end and proposed changes are now online. They didn't seem particularly earth shaking to me, but Des de Moor's response made me look more closely:

He's clearly a better CAMRA Kremlinologist than me. One point I'd given little thought to clearly has wider implications:
CAMRA’s scope widens to include quality beer of all types
Though in many ways this is what CAMRA are already doing, officially broadening its scope means filtered and kegged beers not from overseas can be supported. Clearly keggist roaders are at work. Though it would remove one of CAMRA's odder anomalies.

We also find at the bottom of the beer recommendations:
CAMRA should adopt a neutral position on the use of cask breathers.
Yes, that's right neutrality in the face of extraneous CO2! Keggist roaders indeed. I do have vague memories of the cask breather debate and if I remember rightly CAMRA's technical committee recommended they get approval, but the membership voted against at the AGM. I could be wrong but it's a fact that CAMRA's cellarmanship guide gives them the thumbs up.

I will try and get to the meeting in London about the changes, and I'll take some popcorn in case any of the proverbial CAMRA dinosaurs are there to kick off (I've always wanted to see one but I'm not sure they really exist).

But as for myself I won't be gearing up for a two line struggle. For me beer is not a political  matter, it is a spiritual issue. Though I do miss the old certainties of when we were free to denigrate other lesser beers we live in ecumenical times now and as a faithful member of the one, beery, catholic and apostolic beer consumers organisation I will accept the church's teaching whatever they may be.

Saturday 6 January 2018

Graham Wheeler RIP

On Wednesday I heard the sad news that Graham Wheeler, the author of CAMRA's home brewing books had died. When I first learn to brew his books were my guide and I still use some of his recipes as a starting point when brewing.

Graham Wheeler in 2015
He honed his brewing skills whilst working in Saudi Arabia and on his return wrote up his knowledge in a book. He took it to CAMRA who published it without much fuss and recipe books written in conjunction with Roger Protz followed. He had been working on a new edition of his guide to home brewing for many years but ill health (he had suffered several strokes) prevented him from completing it. It now looks unlikely anything from it will see the light of day. He also had a keen interesting in brewing history and was active on home brewing forums up to his death. 

He died of septicaemia on the 30th of November.