Below are a few thoughts on CAMRA. If you’re bored of reading people’s opinions on this, as many are, don’t bother going any further and save yourself a headache.
1. If Brewdog and other critics of CAMRA think they’re irrelevant, why do they keep going on about them? Could it be that they want their approval? These breweries are trying hard to make good beer, in their own way, but the venerable old man on the UK craft beer scene doesn’t like them. That must hurt a bit.
2. Why aren’t CAMRA seizing this opportunity to become bigger and more powerful? If people are begging them to be the arbiters of what is and isn’t good beer, they should do it. It wouldn’t be a compromise — it would be growth. They could continue to champion real ale (before anyone points it out, yes, we know, the clue is in the name) but, alongside that, they could give out “CAMRA Gold Taste Awards” to keg or bottled beers, whether ‘real’ or not. We’d definitely try a beer if a CAMRA member-led tasting panel (like the ones they run in BEER Magazine) had given it the thumbs up. And that’s how you could judge “brewed for taste” — there don’t have to be rules.
3. Now we mention it, doesn’t BEER Magazine already present a vision of a future CAMRA? One where both sides of the debate are heard; where non-CAMRA writers rub alongside high priests of the campaign; and where being into beer is convincingly presented as a mainstream hobby that everyone can enjoy?