CAMRA MUPpets

After the Revitalisation project CAMRA started, whenever, no one really cared, they voted on many things.  Needing 75% approval but only achieving 72%, the organisation failed to recognise that all beer was equal, or something like that.

Cask was the ultimate and keg was secondary.

I’d agree but as we have learnt with voting…well as the Simpsons put it

 

You never get the results you want and most appreciate that and with an organisation such as CAMRA you can simply cancel your membership and leave and in all honesty that decision won’t impact on you enjoyment of beer and where to have it, well pubs may continue to close but CAMRA aren’t really trying to stop that, no one can except those who wish to continue spending money in those establishments.

Quote Joni Mitchell…

Many left CAMRA at that moment and bragged about it in a show of pure virtue, the stay-and-reform-from-within group looking slightly bemused by the whole process.

You pays your money, you takes your choice.

The insidiousness of the public health lobby groups coupled with an authoritarian nanny state is leading to us responsible adults being forced into to take numerous hits no only to our personal freedom and the appreciation of the fact we are responsible for our own well being, but also being hit in the pocket.

Tax, tax and more tax.

Which brings us onto minimum unit pricing, or MUP, and quite frankly I’ve just waffled on enough when the title of this piece would have been enough.

Like all CAMRA proposals, it won’t really have any impact as MUP will be steam-rollered in by far more powerful and of-the-zeitgeist organisations than the sandal brigade ever were.

Slow. Hand. Clap.

Just when voices against were required.

Fuck it.  I’ll just drink beer under my bed covers, locked in my own home, that way I might get some peace.  The stockpiling begins now.

Democracy – so good the Simpsons did the same joke twice.

Thanks for reading.

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Cool Kids Love a Corporate Buyout

Quick one before I go out to drink macro keg in nice locals with real people (womp).

I forget which got bought out first; Camden or Meantime, either way, only because either were first to be bought out was the reason it caused waves in the craft community/beer bubble world, other than that, neither brewery really factored much on a scale of THE brewery.

It was the coolness of Beavertown, coupled with a prediction precluding a denial until the actual truth came out that caused the most waves.

Then it all subsided and it was back to the rather uncool Fourpure that it barely raised and eyebrow above an iceman pour.

The craft community must have finally matured and accepted that they are in a capital market and breweries of a certain size are bound to want to go large at some point to “reach the next level.”

Hence when Magic Rock announced today they were off, I doubt many really cared.

Sure you’ll get Brewdog, ignoring they sold out to a hedge fund/venture capital group, proclaiming they are fiercely individual but then again they are massive and global enough not to need a buyout, £22 million excepted.

They’ll of course be some sour brewing sour twat in Manchester that’ll probably be ranting and showing his virtue, maybe he’ll start a petition/survey for all his loyal acolytes.

The question is, who is next? That nicely sized brewery I like so much in Macclesfield?  The teddy bear brewers in Newport?  Those existential hippies in Manchester funded by rich parents?

Who knows and quite frankly at this stage, who cares.

 

Drink well, breathe and thanks for reading.

By EU Decree, This Blog is Now Unlawful

Well parts of it are.

As I warned about back in May 2018 in a previous post the realisation that the EU may impose draconian laws on the internet and by default free speech and free ideas has come to pass as they have now unanimously voted through Article 11 and Article 13 (and a whole bunch of other stuff) within its Copyright Directive.

This means that any post on this blog with links to external sources, or any piece on this blog that contains images that aren’t of my own creation, altered under fair use or used within context of a piece, are subject to removal or a fee being paid and as I doubt WordPress would wish to pay a fee, I’ll just wait for deletion.

I don’t invite deletion or wait for it happily as if to be proved correct and attain levity through prose martyrdom, far from it, I would welcome if all the worst aspects of this directive we never realised.

But when it comes to money, global forces and suppression of any challenge to the status quo, it is usually just a matter of time.

I make no money from this blog – if I did it would be much higher quality, less long winded and I’d actually do spelling and grammar checks and so it will continue, between bouts of procrastination, still with links and memes when relevant.

 

Thanks for reading.

Is My Vote Now Worthless?

That is a legitimate question mark in the title of this piece, as I honestly don’t know now.  There may be a debate to be had as if it ever was but that isn’t the point, and also in my case it isn’t exactly true either.

I don’t vote in UK general elections.

Or rather I should categorically state that I do go to the polling stations and I do put a mark on the ballot.  Sometimes more than one mark.  Sometimes smiley faces.  Sometimes quotes from songs.

I spoil my ballot.  There is no party that currently, or for any duration of my voting eligibility, has “promised” enough in their manifesto to make it worth my proper vote but I still hold on to the power of a democratic vote and owe it to at least participate in the process, at least as a thanks to those that fought for it in the UK and for those that don’t have any say in their country’s politics, the world over.

Is that a virtue signal, possibly.

I always vote in my local elections though and therein lies the duality of my choice of legitimate vote versus spoiling.

You see my local council (Wigan) is Labour dominated but I dislike them immensely for their insular, Wigan-centric outlook.  Local politics is a microcosm for the general malaise of UK politics in general.  Wigan looks after Wigan and a few other areas but damns the smaller towns with a few pounds from the coffers ever election cycle.  Wigan itself suffers at the hands of Greater Manchester County Council and their, insular, Manchester city centre-centric outlook.  And then of course the whole of the North suffers from the national governments and parliaments bubble London-centric outlook.

And the more the local towns vote for independent councillors (or anything that isn’t Labour) the less scraps they get.

On the national front (no pub) though, due to boundary changes, my constituency just happens to be a swing one and so my vote there does actually count for something.

But regardless of who my MP was, thanks to a rather unionised, militant mother, I’ve always been a fan of emailing them about the bigger issues that I’m bothered about and the responses were always less than stellar up until my most recent MP got voted in.

Enough for me to vote for them?  On an individual level, quite possibly, on a party political one, quite possibly not.

The shadow of Brexit looms large over all these decisions and whereas the UK has a first past the post (FPTP) system of deciding who “runs” the country for 4-5 year stints, the referendum was an example of  not only direct democracy but of highlighting just why our current elected officials aren’t big fans of it, as you can never rely on getting the result you want.

And so I find myself hemmed in. 650 elected MPs, the majority of which do not wish to enact the result of the referendum of 2016, figuring out ways of getting out of it.

Aided and abetted by a willing media and a very vocal loser contingent.  I use loser not as a pejorative but as a fact, though maybe minority contingent would be better, despite the other images that my conjure up.

A few marches of dubious attendance and an online petition of dubious signatories seem to give credence to wish to halt a process that hasn’t been started properly, because it was never fully committed to in the first place.

Forget about alleged lies and bus slogans, alleged election interference and spending tactics, these are all just bluster to hide the shock of a loss.

What is at stake is what a disaffected populous does if they become even more disaffected with the world around them that only shows the glaringly obvious that they have no say it what happens to them.

The donning of hi-vis jackets won’t do anything.  Nor will mass strikes.  What small amount of power you think you have will just be crushed, possibly physically but at its worst, emotionally.

And then you have to wonder if it is worth taking part in a process you weren’t really welcome in, in the first place.

But when the anti-democrats win and a cheer goes up and all those they labelled with slurs from the very beginning have been put in their place, the precedent will have been set.

Think of it as being stuck in traffic and getting annoyed with those that don’t use their indicators, or drive without lights when it is dark.  Think more on those that never move out of the way of a fire engine or ambulance or police car that is on an emergency call and that desire, deep inside you that secretly, darkly hopes that one day they will know that their action could result in the first responding vehicle they blocked was stopped from attending an incident involving someone they cared about.

Think of Newton’s third law of motion and then realise that a government with power never has a reaction that is equal.

Vive la second law of thermodynamics.

 

Thanks for reading.

They Fear Cask Beer Round Here

Subtitle: Anecdotal evidence on the continuing tribulations of cask beer.

Yes, the title is used for the rhyme and not for casting any aspersion on the drinkers I observed.

 

A few years ago I was in my local chippy when the bloke in front of me requested a chip barm* in his order.

“We’ve got no barms left I’m afraid” came the response from the server “but we’ve got bread if that’s OK for you?”

“It’s not brown is it?” came the worried follow-up from the customer.

I still vividly recall the trepidation in his voice, I pictured that after a hectic week his Friday treat of a chippy tea was about to get less rewarding as it would feature non-white bread.

Let’s be honest, brown (and wholemeal) is fine for toast and sandwiches but for a chip or crisp butty it is both pointless and akin to those people who order lots of food in a take-away and then insist on a diet drink (not that you get much choice of avoiding the bitter, chemical drek the sugar tax has forced the big chains to make).

No one likes the taste of diet soft drinks really; just like no one likes the taste of highly processed bread that isn’t white, and thick, doorstep thick.  If you’re going to treat yourself, do it right.

Sunday just gone I had the pleasure of travelling to York (visited many times before) to watch Leigh lose by 1 point in the championship division of rugby league.  I’ve travelled far further to see Leigh lose by 1 point (and by far more) but I’d never been to the Bootham Crescent ground before.

 

As a side note, it should be noted the Leigh’s home ground now only serves bottles and cans (poured into plastic cups) at the ground on match days, the time of even keg beer has passed it would seem.  To be fair all grounds I’ve been to only serve keg beer, with the exception of The Shay in Halifax.  Though all the grounds to make an effort to re-badge known brands as their “own” – so if you’re a ticker or are on Untappd, maybe trek along on a match day.

It should also be noted that drinking can still occur on the terraces of rugby matches and on the supporter coaches too so go fuck yourselves, South Ayrshire Police (and nanny Scotland in general).

 

We had arrived not in enough time to get to any pubs in the centre but in enough time to grab a few at the closest venue which was York Burton Lane Club it is always gratifying to find a Whatpub entry that is incorrect as they were serving cask beer, so York branch may wish to update this page sometime and look after your clubs as much as your pubs.

Paying a £1 entry as a non-member I clocked the rather obvious poster, which were also behind the bar, highlight that they had A Knight’s Ale by  local microbrewers Isaac Poad for only £2 a pint.  They also had John Smith’s (bitter) on cask too as well as a variety of Sam Smith’s keg amongst the usual standard lagers and ciders.

I’m always slightly trepidatious myself about cask beer at a certain price; it is on the turn and they are just trying to shift it and being in a strange environment with a horde of other piling in behind me I wasn’t about to ask to try it first (not that I actually do anyway, just go for a half, that’s a taster).  So a pint was ordered and very good it both taste and condition it was too.

But the conversations I heard around the bar reminded me of the aforementioned chip shop incident.

“Pint of bitter please” was a regular cry (other than “pint of lager” of course).

“Cask or smooth” was the barmaid’s reply, not even attempting to ever push the guest ale (which I suppose wouldn’t count as a bitter per se but still…)

“Smooth…smooth” were the numerous, convulsed replies.

Stick with what you know I suppose, price isn’t really an object in a rushed environment when you’re on a day trip.

Scanning the busy drinking area there were a few on the cask, I’m not going to put a number on it, nor what the average age of the clientèle was as this is just anecdotal.

 

But if you can’t shift cask beer at £2 a pint to the thirsty; then really, is it a premium product that can attract top whack and are those breweries that sell it for less really creating a rod for the backs of themselves and every other brewer?

 

Thanks for reading.

 

*barmcake, bap, cob, roll, batch, muffin, teacake, etc.

Manchester Public Transport Part 1 – The Scourge of Guardianista

I’ll get this out of my system first because Part 2 (whenever I get around to writing it) will be actually about the public transport system in (Greater) Manchester but as things stand now, I’ll just take this moment to laugh at a typically deluded Guardian journo, who now seems to be on a bit of a crusade after the shock of bus fares in the county hit home.

Given the begging letters you see when you ever visit the “newspaper’s” website, I take it that expenses are a bit short for the Guardian’s staff these days.  Either that or they themselves aren’t employees, meh I don’t care, it’s your life.

 

It’s the self-flagellation that always gets me.  The unnecessary virtue signal and moan about first world problems and then the moment of realisation that, all your own morals are expendable when broken down into the realities of hard cash.

Damn this capitalism, nationalise everything all ready.

I’d have slightly more sympathy for her supposed plight if she hadn’t followed it up with this:

“How can I possibly be expected to walk a bit in order to pay over the odds for bog standard food at restaurant prices when I’ve had to fork out for a bus an Uber.”

Life is what you make it.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Opening Times (CAMRA) Poynton Pootle – Addendum

No, my name is not Graham Privett and I did not write this rather good piece about Poynton.

Link to all issues.

http://www.ssmcamra.co.uk/OTfiles/402jan19.pdf

Having picked up the Jan/Feb 2019 edition of Opening Times, the Stockport and South Manchester CAMRA branch magazine, I was at once happy that someone reviewed Poynton, saving me the effort but also a bit miffed they’d missed a few things, though I expect this was due to time constraints and the shit public transport in and out of it.

The main jist of my piece would be that Poynton offers a pub/bar for every drinking occasion, even the Acoustic Lounge for live music and later night drinking (that still manages to keep and turn over 2 cask lines).

I’ve written about Vine Hop before but the piece missed out (The) Bull’s Head.

But before I get on to that I’ll just talk about the Poynton Wetherspoons called The Kingfisher – another good Spoons pub which has the neat trick of showing off the casks in a windowed, sealed off room visible to the whole pub.  A nice gimmick, until you realise just how far from the bar the casks are and just how much pythonage must be going on and condition that could be lost from the beer pulling it through those long lines.  A minor quibble, but beer blogging lore dictates that a Spoons establishment must be mentioned in all pub related posts.

So on to (The) Bull’s Head

As you can see from the above link this is a pub that still very much has “older pub times,”  closing in the afternoon and reopening in the evening.  It is a bit of a way out of Poynton, on the way to Hazel Grove and the new, and refreshingly dangerous junctions with the new A555 bypass taking up to High Lane, Disley and beyond.

But I digress, there isn’t much I can add to the beer choice, local in its range (Red Willow, Storm Brewing, etc.) very much a Macclesfield-Cheshire and beyond feel rather than the “oh, another Manchester brewery again, how different” selection you can get in many of these “highly recommended” pubs that fall in the Stockport postcode.

It is just the feeling I got when I walked in the place, it makes it worth the walk out from the main bulk of Poynton pubs, it feels warm and friendly, the kind of pub you’d like to be snowed-in in.

The beer is always well kept, the only downside is the soft drinks/mixers are poured out of pop bottles but that doesn’t really affect me.

Most off all they have quite a few awards from the local CAMRA branch, which I can’t ever read because they store them behind their spirit range.  Who needs awards when people know the pub is good.

 

Thanks for reading.