Sunday 27 July 2014

Damn and be Published

Back in the 1980s, there was this paper called Today. A left-leaning tabloid, Alistair Campbell cut his overly pointy teeth on it. Many people were surprised to learn it was owned by News International, publishers of The Times, The Sun and The News of the World. I myself couldn't figure out what was more sinister - blanket bombing the newspaper stands with ill-thought out, right-wing nonsense, or a publisher making an individual paper for all points on the political spectrum.

Yesterday, I received my copies of the CAMRA paper and magazine. And yet again was bemused about the breadth of member they were appealing to. As far as I can tell, What's Brewing appeals to the type of person with views depicted below.

The magazine, however, deals with the 'craft' issue by mentioning it as little as possible. Despite it being designed by the same people, Beer seems to have at least entered the 21st century. Or at least the sub-Liechtenstein mid-20th century.  It can seem a bit confused, though. An article about the pros and cons of dimple mugs has a man from BrewDog (those fine purveyors of traditional ales) speaking against them . You can almost hear the winking as he writes "Any aroma from the beer is lost due to the large open top, as is any carbonation (v, of course)".
Comic artist ripped off unknown

In many ways, this epitomises the divide in CAMRA as present, that between the hardcore casketeers and the casual Spoons Voucher Brigade. They each have their own separate periodical that appeals to them. Though it does make you wonder exactly to whom CAMRA is appealing. Could be that soon the Beardy end will die off and be "replaced" by the casuals.

Beer seems to be the "acceptable face" that CAMRA wants to present to the world, whereas What's Brewing is what the activists use to keep the organisation going. How long this will last is another matter entirely.


  1. BEER may be more modernistic in style, but it still as a point of principle refuses to make any positive reference to non-real beers and ciders.

    So much of CAMRA publications now have a kind of "don't mention the war" spirit about them which makes them seem increasingly detached from the reality of what is happening on the ground amongst "beer enthusiasts".

    Incidentally, did you see my tweet about the guy on the Spoons Yahoo Group referring to "horrid tins of craft ale"?

  2. If CAMRA wants to renounce quality for foolishness then let them. I'm a real ale fan, but I'm open-minded enough to know that not all real ales are good in the same sense that not all keg beers are bad. The least they could do is leave us normal alcohol enthusiasts alone while they drink bad beer with pride as we drink good beers with satisfaction.

  3. you cannot have only just noticed, that there are some odd type in this here beardy beer club. Some right odd types.

  4. F B Scott says he's open-minded (implying a contrast with CAMRA members) and thinks "not all real ales are good", but no CAMRA member I know would disagree. "Real ale" refers to a style of production and serving; it is not a badge of quality. Poor quality real ales are produced all the time, for example, Tetley Bitter, John Smiths Cask and Greene King IPA, all real ales and all taking the term "mediocrity" to new depths.