Thursday, October 27, 2011

Real Ale

My friend, the author and architectural historian Francis Morrone made note of my admitted short shrift of craft brewing in my last post about beer. In the following, he fills in a crucial precedent for the great beer revolution in the United States:

I think a crucial link you left out is that the U.S. microbrew and craft-brew revolution followed on Britain's Campaign for Real Ale, which began in the 1960s (though not made a formal consumer advocacy organization until the early '70s) when a number of Englishmen, most of them young, began to sound the alarm about declining British beer and the decline of the traditional pub. I am sure that when you were over there you noticed that many pubs announce themselves as "real ale pubs." That shows that they pass muster with CAMRA, which is today the U.K.'s single biggest consumer advocacy group. This is important to me both because I think there never would have been a similar movement in the U.S. but for the movement in the U.K., and also because one of the people who most influenced the real ale movement was my idol among architecture writers, Ian Nairn (who, alas, died from cirrhosis of the liver).

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