Sunday, 4 October 2015


This week I felt it most appropriate to do some tub thumping for Cask Ale Week. A celebration of Britain's National Drink. That ends today, October 4th.

It was an ideal platform to increase footfall in the nations pubs and clubs. Flog more cask ale - and hopefully, introduce and 'convert' more folk to the delights of cask conditioned beer.

However, I have to say that there ain't been much evidence of any enthusiastic tub thumping, for this most worthy campaign, up and down the country. And to be quite candid, my own local branch appeared to have done little, in rallying the troops. In order to highlight this ten day beery celebration.

Cask ale is probably the only section of the drinks market( apart from gin) that is in the ascendancy . It's outstripping all the others. It deserved, in my humble opinion, to have had a more supportive and more vigorous rallying call, during the campaign period. 

But there was some that were an example to others. Stockport CAMRA, for example, have had ELEVEN different events in support of Cask Ale Week.
Many pubs and clubs of course, have also been very supportive in highlighting the campaign. And I 
was pleased that one of my local watering holes had organised a special event.

The Hare and Hounds, in Padiham were holding a mini-beer festival. And had asked me to choose ALL ten of the ales, for their 'Cask Ale Week' celebration.

It gave me the perfect opportunity to select beers from some of the localities breweries. Brewers that had a passion and a skill, for brewing craft ales. Beers produced by artisans, in my personal opinion.

It was quite a responsibility and a challenge, identifying beers to suit all palates. The pub was packed out for most of the three day festival. And the feedback from the many that had thronged, was very positive.

First to sell out, was Moorhouse's 'First Cut'. Chosen to identify a typical, premium English traditional bitter. Amber in appearance, and with a malty sweet aroma. The classic maris otter malt 

gave it a biscuity-sweet flavour. And led to some fruity bitterness and lingering caramel, in the finish.
 No surprise it flew out.

Another popular slurp, was from a small microbrewery on the outskirts of Burnley. Fighting Cocks, 'Cliviger Clout' was the talk of the festival. I had had it brewed specially for the event. A robust, light golden ale. It was bursting with zesty grapefruit. Along with a hint of gooseberry. It had a pleasant, resinous mouthfeel. Clean and refreshing. With a fruity bitterness in the aftertaste. A tangy, tingly, tongue taster!

One beer I knew would go well, was from Blackburn brewer, Three B's. Craft beer at its finest. Brewer, Bob Bell, is my beer hero. His Pinch Noggin was superb. A premium strong bitter, at 4.6%. Dark amber appearance. Malty sweet aroma. The caramel malt and dark, vinous fruit flavours, complimented each other to perfection.

Arguably, my favourite beer, was from Rammy Craft Brewery. Their Chocolate Porter was a brewing masterpiece. The tartness of the dark grains, offset the malty sweet flavour to perfection. It led to a 

strong, bitter chocolate finish. Cadbury Bournville in a glass - clever brewer.

Other favourites included a brew from fledgling Eccleston brewer,Third Eye Brewery. 'Session Ale' was a refreshing,hop-laden delight. Four New Zealand hops had been used in the brewing process.  And a fruity wheat beer, that flew out, from the superb Manchester brewer, Seven Bro7hers. A delicious, offbeat and hazy potion.

So, let's hope Cask Ale Week was a successful one. The well organised campaign deserved it. And that many are migrating to the intoxicating delights of cask conditioned beer - and hopefully, I will have played a small part , in persuading the 'non-converted' to become more 'judicious' in their beery preference.