Beer is a serious matter in England and the type of beer you drink defines you in the British drinking world, particularly, if you drink a cask beer. Then you’re part of a movement in the UK to bring the ancient traditions of beer back into the modern world. You are claiming your national heritage and culture and saying, “Away with those modern carbonated beers.”
The movement is organized by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. CAMRA calls a cask beer a real ale and defines it as an ale that “has a natural taste full of flavor with a light natural carbonation (i.e fizziness) produced by the secondary fermentation that has occurred in the cask.” In other words, it’s a beer that’s naturally carbonated in a wooden barrel. There’s also a special hand pump that’s used to create more carbonation. It’s believed that a real ale should be served warm so the flavor is better appreciated.
Eric has been diligent about trying out this type of beer since we’ve been in London. And we got to do more of a sampling at the annual Beer festival organized by CAMRA. It was held in a convention hall, and craft beer makers came to present their specially crafted real ales. There were also ciders, pear ciders, and international beers featured.
It was a serious event, not at all like a sloppy drunken event you might imagine a beer festival to be. Serious tasters walked around with a beer program and made notes about each beer they sampled.
I think we might have decided that we’re not part of the real ale movement. Eric’s favorite place to sample beer was from the German beer stand.
And my favorite place was the Real Pork Scratchings booth.
Real Scratchings = freshly made pork rinds