Choice Is Good – Enjoy Beer

I don’t often wade in to the  ‘debate’ side of things when it comes to Beer blogging. This may surprise some folk, but the only reason is genuinely because TGS is about discussing Beer and Food in the main, and I’d like to keep it that way. Those that know me will know that when huddled over pints in pubs, I’ll happily throw my opinion around about issues, breweries and people and  – well – talk about things. You know, like we used to before this whole blogging thing kicked off.

However, two posts this week (and one from a little while ago), really put things into perspective for me – hence this post as some kind of a response to that. Plus, no-one wants to read all this in a comment.

‘Choice, I Repeat, Is Good’

Tandleman’s excellent post from today goes some way to smoothing relations between – at times it seems like – CAMRA and everyone else. I think it’s one of the best things Tandleman’s written, as for me it comes across as having a bigger scope in what it’s saying than some previous ones. The key phrase is ‘Choice is Good’ – he’s right, of course he is. After all, that’s all we want, isn’t it? Choice? In everything – setting, dispense, flavour. I understand that CAMRA’s role is not to push Keg. I understand the reasons behind CAMRA’s inception. And it’s really ok with me. I’m a member, and a ‘Noisome Blogger’, too. There are many of us. Maybe changes are afoot – and that’s good to hear. It’s always good to hear. Craft Beer bars are not to be feared. Put the pitchforks down -we can live in harmony.

The Internet Lens Distorts

My biggest bugbear with  – and the internet has a lot to do with this – the disparity in the Cask/Keg debate is that it can often seem too petty. Too much about age, demographic, fear and a lack of info. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who feels, at times, a little patronized. You write about expensive, ‘faddy’ beers only. Untrue. You only drink £5 – a -pint uber-Keg and imported beers from Botswana. Untrue. Again, those that know me (or us, if you feel the same way) will know that we drink  – gasp – the same as you. You only drink beer to serve alongside Quasi-Gourmet dining. Not true.

Really, bloggers do drink a hell of a lot of beer (some would say too much) ; but  maybe we don’t blog about everything we drink. Well, I don’t  – as I mentioned before, it’s not the aim of blog. And plus – it would be boring. Promotion of Real Ale in Keg, Cask, Bottle and Can is the point. Why? Well, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it – which is the entire point of CAMRA. This was summed up succinctly and emotively by Zak – a man who has insight from both sides of the till – here. Isn’t that  – supporting independence in business, creativity and rewarding excellence – why we do it? Isn’t trying to get more people the same way why we do it?

If It Makes You Happy

If you want to re-tweet your local’s opening hours every day then do – if one person a week finds that useful, then you’ve done your job. If you don’t like it, turn it off (or, as I have done countless times, unfollow). If someone posts up nothing but pictures of expensive bottles of beer next to £20 Burger platters, then do. If someone wants to simply write up every beer they’ve had for 365 days – no matter what it is – then do.

There’s a hell of a lot of Blogs out there, some good, some bad – but if we could all at least try and remember why we do it – and not reduce ourselves to squabbling amongst each other – then that would be a great start to 2012 for me. Wheat will be sorted from Chaff…eventually. I know ‘discourse’ is not the same as ‘Squabbling’  – but there’s a fine line between them sometimes.

Finally, Boak and Bailey’s post yesterday about ‘The Thin End of The Wedge‘ was brilliant – light-hearted, sure, but I agree with a lot of it. Maybe I’m making light of things, but I do. Maybe I’m looking at things too simply – I do that, often. I guess I’m only indirectly talking about Cask vs Keg, CAMRA vs Bloggers, Independent Shopping against Convenience. I’m talking about working with each other.

Normal Service will be resumed shortly!


About leighgoodstuff

Blog: I'm Leigh Linley; born and bred in Leeds, and writing about it since 2005. TGS exists solely to highlight the great beers that are out there; brewed with passion by Craft Brewers around the World. I also edit the 'Tavern Tales' section of Culture Vulture, which looks at Pubs and Pub Life rather than the beer in the glass.

Posted on 02/01/2012, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. ??? I only do it for the squabbling! 😉

  2. I stumbled across Tandlemans blog this morning and found it an interesting read, although fairly defensive in parts. Personally, I think I come at this from a slightly different angle, in that beer isn’t my “be all and end all.” Fair enough I enjoy good beer but it’s not everything and I guess more importantly, it’s not my livelihood.

    But on to the beer debate..Am I looking at it far too simply when I say there is a time and a place for Cask, Keg and Bottle just as there is for a Session Ale, Double IPA or a Stout. Sometime’s I’m up for a night out and will happily pay £4/£5 for a half of something special in a trendy bar in the city centre, but equally I’ll sit in an old school pub drinking a £2/£3 pint from a local brewery on cask. So long as they both taste good and I’m comfortable in paying the price, who cares. Whatever my tastes, I’m confident I can go to a pub/bar/retailer and pick out what I want when I want. The choice is there and more available than ever.

    Back to my simplistic view; most of the time my choices of where I spend my free time are based on the people I’m meeting, the occasion and the atmosphere/ambience of a proposed pub or bar. Second comes the beer or food selection and what people fancy that day…and finally, the Cask Vs Keg discussion remains firmly in the realms of cyberspace.

  3. Leigh — we’re on the same page re: bloggers as human beings. Very good point here that we don’t write about every beer we drink and, the fact is, if we were told we could only drink either session-strength cask ale *or* strong or imported beers for the rest of our lives, we’d probably choose the former. But who wants to read a post about every time we have a pint of Tribute? Or London Pride?

    I also agree re: live and let live. If we don’t find people’s blogs interesting, we don’t comment on them or link to them, but there’s no point in having a go. We’re still finding our way around Twitter but, yeah, unfollowing isn’t hard either. (By the same measure, we’re not offended if people find our blog or Tweets boring/annoying…)

    • Thanks Broadford – I’m sure we’ll hook up soon enough!
      Bailey – It’s just the fact that some folk use the blogs to reflect 100% of that person’s personality. You and I both know that it’s complete tosh to suggest that ‘poncey bloggers’ only drink rare, expensive and imported beer. In fact, I might even submit that there’s a worse group for that out there – Brewers! I jest. But you get the point, clearly. It’s just another brush to tar a group of people with. There’s too many people out there – with a mouthpiece and the right to say what they want – who feel that their way is ‘the way’ and all who don’t agree or irk them in some way deserve public ridicule.

  4. A measured appraisal Leigh. I have noticed that you are rarely drawn into the ‘squabbling’ and I think that it’s great that you reserve your blog for TGS. Having said that, and as someone who doesn’t get a chance to meet up with the Leeds folk very often, it’s good to read your thoughts….although in person is always better 🙂
    Couldn’t agree more, choice is king….long live the king!

  5. hear hear!
    When I first started blogging I was wondering where my “niche” was going to be but all the squabbling definitely pushed me away from including more commercial beer musings. In a way it actually helped me to find my own thing. I’m still shocked though at how petty and inbred beer blogging can sometimes be.

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