We have a VIP party of 20 or so from our local CAMRA branch visiting on Saturday so have been through my personal cellar, pictured here (I wish!) gathering together some special beers for their delectation. I hope they appreciate it.
I have done a good many CAMRA group tours and they are generally very enjoyable. Most attendees are knowledgeable, pleasant and friendly people with whom to share a beer or two. One tour however did not go quite so well.
I gave up my Saturday afternoon to host a coach load visiting a brewery that I won’t mention a few years ago. I walked with them to the brewhouse to begin my explanation. Barely had I started talking when a large, red faced gentleman in a leather waistcoat interrupted, apparently offended at my use of the word enzyme. “you’re speaking gobbledygook man!” he proclaimed. I stopped and pointed out that for some on the tour technical information will be of interest and that he should respect their needs as well as his own, to which he replied “PAH!”. I carried on. More noises of exasperation followed as I mentioned the Maillard reaction, the need for oxygen for cell multiplication and more or less every other bit of technical information. When we got to the bit where I explain how conditioning is used to reduce the concentration of diacetyl and hydrogen sulphide he shouted “rubbish”. At this point I stopped, turned to the rest of the group and asked if they could do anything to either stop his outbursts or whether he could sit out the tour in the bus. The leader of the group looked at me as if I had violated his grandmother and said that my suggestion was inappropriate and quite offensive. I calmed down and carried on.
In the racking hall I started explaining how because our beer is triple fermented it does not need to be left to condition in the cellar and in fact with our cask beers, fresh is best. At this point the waistcoated beer expert said “I’ll stop you there. I have been running cellars for 40 years and I know a great deal more about beer than you. What you are saying is completely wrong. I won’t even broach a beer until it is past its best before date!” You can imagine my demeanour at this time. I could feel every vein in my body bulging out and could barely see over my chest it was so overinflated. Both my fists were aching they were clenched so tight.
I calmly (probably didn’t come across in that way) led the group to the back door of the brewery and said “This, ladies and gentlemen is where the tour ends” and shut the door. As I drove past them milling about in the car park on my way home I think it dawned on them that there would be no sampling for their tour!
Saturday’s tour should be a much more savoury experience. As follows is what awaits them after the gobbledygook and rubbish.. If you’re in Cornwall and a CAMRA member why not come along?
CAMRA Kernow Visit to Sharp’s Brewery 2011
1. Cornish Coaster 3.6% ABV
2. Doom Bar 4% ABV
3. Autumn Red 4.1% ABV
4. Sharp’s Own 4.4% ABV
5. High Gravity Eden Ale 4.9% ABV
6. Sharp’s Special 5% ABV
7. Chalky’s Bite 6.8% ABV
Sharp’s Bottle Conditioned Beers (limited supply)
1. Chalky’s Bark 4.5% ABV
2. Dark Saison 6.8% ABV
3. Cellar aged 2006 vintage Chalky’s Bite 6.8% ABV
4. 50 hop IPA 7% ABV
5. Honey Spice IPA 7.5% ABV
6. Chilli double IPA 7.7%
7. Chechen Grand Imperial Stout 8.5% ABV
8. Citrus Tripel 8.8%
9. 2 year old Soured Abbey Double 8.9% ABV
10. Honey Spice Triple 9% ABV
11. DW 9.5% ABV
12. Massive Ale 10% ABV
13. Trappist IPA 9.5% ABV
William Worthington's Bottle Conditioned Beers (limited supply)
1.Worthington's E 4.8% ABV
2. Worthington's Red Shield 4.3% ABV
3. Worthington's White Shield 5.6% ABV
4. P2 Imperial Stout 8% ABV
5. Worthington's Gold Shield 8.5%ABV