In 1975, Dave Bennett, a member of the Campaign for Real Ale, proposed a formalised ‘vocabulary of taste’ for beer to rival that used by ‘wine snobs’.
It seems to have been a publication of some sort, and we’ve put out feelers to confirm that, and perhaps get sight of a copy.
In the meantime, we’ve gleaned from the Daily Mail of 17 February 1975 that Bennett attempted to dodge accusation of pretension by suggesting that beer should have a ‘smell’ instead of a ‘bouquet’, and proposed the following rather down-to-earth flavour descriptors:
- black treacle
- rhubarb-like tooth-sharpening
Treacle, mice, metal and grease? Not so much French château as the two-up-two-down terrace. We rather like ‘brothy’, even if we’re not quite sure how it applies to beer.
It would take another ten years for anything like this approach to take hold within CAMRA, and then not without opposition (for more on which see Des De Moor’s essay in the 2011 anthology CAMRA at 40).
This post is something of an extended footnote to a passing observation we have made in the first draft of our book. Expect more of these in the months to come.