The Grauniad: CAMRA's Zeitgeist?
A review of a review
In an article about real ale (a rare occurrence for the national Press),
The Guardian published a
review of the Good Beer Guide 2003 by David Horspool.
Reading it is amusing as the author seems torn between following
the usual editorial slant and actually liking the GBG and CAMRA.
This almost amounts to praising with faint damnation.
David Horspool watches as beer buffs tune into the zeitgeist in Roger Protz's Camra Good Beer Guide
On the one hand,
The Campaign for Real Ale, producers of the Good Beer Guide for 30 years, must hold the record for
the shortest time between public ignorance and public ridicule of a British institution. The real-ale
bore was an instant British stereotype. Bearded and jerseyed, he mutters darkly about nitro-kegs and
short measures - "a scandal that cost millions of pounds a year in lost beer", as Roger Protz duly
rumbles in this year's Guide.
On the other,
And yet, they're right. Real ale, cask or bottle-conditioned, among which is included genuine, foreign-
produced beer as against "fake British lager", is manifestly better than the smooth-flow, cold-filtered,
pressurised and pasteurised liquids most of us consume.
The writer, like so many journalists, seems stuck with the old image of
"beards and woolly jumpers" and apparently hasn't noticed most of the efforts in the last
two years to move on to a modern image, as encapsulated in the
recent National Pubs Week campaign - "a pub for everyone".
He goes on,
But in other ways, Camra is as zeitgeisty as Naomi Klein. It is staunchly anti-globalisation.
and refers to Anheuser-Busch and organic foods.
Apparently he's more interested in such trendy themes than in
practicalities such as the scandal of
short measures and poor beer choice & quality,
which feature prominently in the GBG and
CAMRA's work in general.
Guardian cricket scribe hacks self, launches chat board
is another curious case.
ALE Spring 2003 No. 309
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Cambridge & District CAMRA