A policy we can all agree on.
An unpublished letter to the newspaper of the UK Campaign for Real Ale, CAMRA (What's Brewing). The real wisdom in the letter is the quote from Roger Protz at the end, noted beer and brewing writer, and campaigner. I'd tried to get some of the points in this text published on a couple of occasions in the past few years, unsuccessfully. On the one hand, the newspaper editor Tom Stainer had a habit of nearly every month publishing two or three letters from his favoured correspondents. On the other hand, and as the editor pointed out, letters not published (like this one) were often (far) longer than the recommended length. This was my attempt at a more concise version to make several points.
A while ago there was a case to answer about favoured correspondents in What's Brewing. Many of the concerns appear Southern dominated – debate over £4 a pint; flat pints with no head (the custom down south is as eccentric as not serving mushy peas). I have been pleased more recently to see some resistance (including by CAMRA founders) against technical obsession, or the tyranny of extremely hoppy ales and golden beers, or every beer having to come from an obscure micro. Though the great new beer bars in Liverpool have London type prices, and £3.20+ is now common for guest ales in pubs. I'm with the school that says if Sam Smiths can serve a reasonably priced pint in London then others could do too. But I also see the view that we pay for a whole experience which is worth it.
While there is often controversy over issues in What's Brewing (leaving alone 'craft' ale or whether members can like canned beer) I believe there are some things on which we all agree. One is that support for traditional British ale production can help the country out of the recession. As Mike Benner said "drinking real ale to get out of recession is a very good idea." Writing in Country Ales and Breweries (Roger Protz and Steve Sharples, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1999) Roger Protz highlighted the Felinfoel Brewery in Wales which put beer into tin cans in the 1930s to help the local tin plate industry during a recession (p. 146). The Coalition should be looking at more ways to encourage brewing innovation now.