Farmhouse beers from Donegal

Debunking beer bullshit

Perhaps it’s not even worth commenting on, but one of the most misleading things we’ve read about beer in a long time comes from the CAMRA website.

Believe it or not, we’ve only now for the first time looked at CAMRA’s definition of what real ale is. That definition starts off in the right direction – real ale is a natural living product – before spiralling into what we can only classify as a simpleton’s view of how beer is made.

To quote CAMRA directly, “Brewery-conditioned, or keg, beer … is not a living product.” Really? Why is that?

Because, as CAMRA maintains, “after the beer has finished fermentation in the brewery and has been conditioned, it is chilled and filtered to remove all the yeast and then it is pasteurised to make it sterile.” Oh, is that so?

Well, we don’t filter our beer, and we don’t pasteurise it either, but we do brewery condition it and we do serve it in kegs. As for carbonation we use a technique called ‘spunding’ which means the yeast naturally carbonate the beer during primary and secondary fermentation, and when it leaves our brewery it is just as living as any cask ale. 

We’re not the only small brewery that makes and serves real living ales this way. Perhaps its time for CAMRA to stop clutching at spurious definitional straws and start recognising that real ales as a natural living product can come in many different forms and packages. That the good people of CAMRA prefer their ales served from a cask is fine with us. But not everyone does and this doesn’t mean they are consuming a product that is any less real, living or natural.

The first principle of any “campaign for real ale, pubs and drinkers’ rights” should be to inform the public, as accurately and honestly as possible.


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