The Campaign for Unreal Ale: Deleted Scene

Our first piece for All About Beer magazine, ‘The Campaign for Unreal Ale‘, went live this week.

We wanted to focus on a particular moment and challenged ourselves, as with the recent piece on Covent Garden ’75 in BEER, to use only the words of those involved.

Of course, there’s a bit of a con there: the faux-oral-history format implies the absence of an author when, in fact, we’ve selected quotes from much longer transcripts, based on questions we asked, in order to tell a particular story in 1000 words.

By way of additional context, here’s a bit from Alastair Hook we didn’t use:

[My criticism of CAMRA in The Grist] didn’t necessarily chime with the heart-chords of SIBA members who were mostly cask ale brewers. In fact, it wound them up.

The late Michael Jackson told me, ‘Only ever talk good things of beer’, and that’s what I try to do, so, for all their ills, CAMRA have spent decades promoting good beer. (I’m just not sure they know what it is.)

I don’t have a problem with CAMRA – I don’t think about it. It’s irrelevant. What was strange was when I gave a talk at the Great British Beer Festival but my own beer, from Meantime, got stopped at the door by some jobsworth who wouldn’t have it on the premises because it wasn’t real ale. Isn’t that weird? Absurd.

It’s no wonder that people are sometimes confused about Mr Hook’s stance on CAMRA: even though it can sound extreme — ‘the idea that oxygen improves beer is just absurd’ — it’s actually rather complex and, dare we say it, emotional.

We’ve illustrated this post with pictures of Hook and Haydon scanned from 1990s copies of The Grist, the copyright holders of which All About Beer weren’t able to track down. If that’s you, and you’d like us to add a credit or remove the image from this post, let us know.