If you read my last blog, Intolerable Intolerances, you will know that, at least for a while, I am off the beer. Obviously it is stretching the art of understatement to say that this is something of a blow. Nonetheless, my commitment to real ale and decent pubs remains undiminished – hopefully my abstinence is only temporary and I want to be sure they are still there when I’m back to my normal self.
So it was that I attended the monthly Gloucester CAMRA social at the York on Wednesday. The York is an excellent pub and a rare good news story in the current climate of ever closing pubs – having been closed for some time it reopened last year and is now a very pleasant and welcoming pub serving good beer and food. It was hard drinking cola whilst all around me waxed lyrical on the quality of the ale. It was only at the weekend that someone pointed out to me that I could still drink cider: why didn’t I think of that before? Okay, it is no substitute for beer, but it sure beats cola.
CAMRA is a worthy institution for anyone who is at all interested in real ale and the pubs in which it is drunk. Okay, you can take the mickey out of CAMRA and their stereotypical beards, beer bellies and dodgy knitwear, but it is these real ale stalwarts that have created the most successful consumer group in Europe and single handedly saved our real ale heritage. Initially called the “Campaign for the Revitalisation of Ale”, CAMRA came into being on 16 March 1971with the aim of stemming the tide of fizzy keg beer.
Those of you who are good at maths will realise that this makes CAMRA 40 years old this year. To celebrate the date, on the 16th March the Gloucester CAMRA social will be at the New Inn and Chairman Alan Stephens and the committee are in discussion with Mark and Craig, the Manager and Deputy Manager at the New Inn, to work out what to do to make the evening a real birthday party.
If you are a CAMRA member and don’t usually come along to the meetings, or if you aren’t yet a member, this seems like the ideal opportunity to get involved – we don’t all have beards, beer bellies and dodgy knitwear!
For more information on CAMRA in Gloucester see: http://www.camraingloucester.org.uk/
For CAMRA birthday celebrations elsewhere in the country see: http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=40thbirthdayevents