So, at the risk of stating the obvious, it’s not too bad a time to be a beer-drinker, is it?
Yes, of course the likes of Watneys Red Barrel, Worthington ‘E’, and Ind Coope Double Diamond have been safely consigned to the archives for quite some time now; but it wasn’t that long ago that big brands still exerted a massive hold over our tastes. For example, Londoners of a certain vintage may well remember the Firkin pubs of the 1980s: wonderful beer, brewed on site; but as soon as the (mini) chain was sold, that was the end of that, taps took over from pumps with immediate effect, with the vats also consigned. And then the ensuing ‘90s and Noughties saw certain names exert an almost vice-like grip on our drinking, shades of Henry Ford – you can have a pint of anything, as long as it’s tasteless keg, and a dilute one at that. Accountants, and marketing departments, made merry.
Meanwhile, for all the flak that often came their nerdy way, it was only dear old CAMRA that kept reminding our deaf ears that although their preferred fluid was brown, flat, and ever-so-slightly warm, it could provide much more pleasure. And despite needing careful handling if delivered from a cask located in the pub cellar, it delivered a depth of flavour and texture that was arguably unique. Agreed, in this corner.