What’s Brewing, June – July 2015 – Agony Column

Whats Brewing JJ 15 2Providing much needed help for the writers to What’s Brewing.

In June, regular correspondent DS of Chelmsford is bemoaning choice, too many ‘unknown and often undrinkable’ beers. So give up now all you new brewers, DS wants to stick with what he knows. It was like that back in the seventies, ah, the good old days.

But what of the kidz? FC of Whitley Bay thinks that left well alone the ‘youth will embrace the values of their elders’ when they are ready. I don’t think FC has had a chance to visit the Bermondsey beer mile yet.

The voice of reason comes DH, president of a Uni real ale society who identifies their enemy as bland, flavourless beers and reads CAMRA’s original mission as giving consumers ‘greater choice and quality’.

In July, carbon dioxide and the dreaded ‘c’ word get a proper hammering. SB of Quedgeley says the enemy is keg and lager. So basically it’s back to WW2, the Germans and their lager are the enemy. That’s how many years of brewing tradition gone west then? LW of Worcester thinks that a ‘focus on quality’ is a bad thing. Oh dear.

Honestly, when you read stuff like that I really do consider leaving CAMRA but then you read Bob Southwell, the Volunteer Voice this month. Whilst not endorsing the ‘c’ beer revolution he does recognise the outdated ideas of CAMRA in some respects. Under the heading ‘Have we just become moaning relics’ he declares the need for action before CAMRA has the same fate as dinosaurs. Articles like this give me hope.

One of these days CAMRA is going to have aggravate a large minority of its members (and risk their resignations) in order to progress and increase membership. Or else another organisation will be more attractive and CAMRA will end up like the Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood.

European Beer Bloggers Conference 2015, why wouldn’t you?

EBBC15badgeOr #EBBC15 as we like to call it. It is beyond me why so few attend this. Not that it is badly attended by any means. Zephyr Adventures are the organisers, they are enthusiastic as only Americans can be and responsive. For a relatively small sum, occasionally subsidised with bursaries, they put on a fantastic agenda of blogging related stuff, food, entertainment and most of all, FREE BEER and lots of it. Of course this is not done without generous sponsorship from brewers, large and small for whom everyone is grateful (in particular that’s you Vaclav, from Pilsner Urquell).

And this year it’s in BELGIUM. Enough said.

The conference aspect is not arduous and certainly interesting. The beer drinking aspect is arduous, but hey, we’re not afraid of hard work are we? I’ve recounted before my first insight prior to my first conference when I found somebody (yes, you Steve)organising the pre-pub crawl pub crawl. Then a typical day at conference is the expo (free beer samples), keynote address (and toast), some talks (with relevant beer to accompany them), reception (various free beer), dinner (free beer) and post dinner entertainment or pub crawl (beer, often free).

We can be an introspective lot us beer bloggers and there are various reasons why people blog. The idea of getting free beer in the post to review is appealing to many, for others it is a personality trait or a wish to be in the in-crowd, some are real writers, some drift into it. According to one survey most don’t do it for money though I suspect that most would like to unless they have high paid jobs – you are not going to earn much money out of this. Some luminaries have carved a deservedly great career from humble blog beginnings. But surely whatever your motives, the Beer Bloggers Conference is first thing in the diary?

And to all the above, why not? Beer is fun. Beer is unpretentious. Beer is also surprisingly complex. Any activity where you get to drink a bit more beer, possibly at less expense and where you have the opportunity to earn a bit of money is great.

If you blog, if you have thought about starting a blog, then do it. Come to the European Beer Bloggers Conference 2015.