Sunday 23 August 2009

A Few Beers Later...

I hope that, as I post this, the lads are still celebrating a very hard-fought, grafted-for Ashes win.

All right, it means that my personal best score today of a whopping 14 (not to mention my first ever boundary) does have a tendency to pale into insignificance but, who cares frankly!!

However, I am not going to dwell on today too much but look to the future - going forward I have three wishes for watching England play cricket in the coming years: firstly I'd like to see us retain that little urn for quite some time, secondly I'd like the quality of the Marston's to be significanly less variable at the grounds I go to and, thirdly, can there please be more than one bloody cask bar at each ground?!

As the official beer of the England & Wales cricket team I think it's ridiculous that the cask version of the beer is so horrendously difficult to get at grounds, especially when the alternative is smoothflow - shudder!

p.s. ta to Wells & Young's for taking me to the first day of this historic test at the Oval - what a good day out that was!


Fatman said...

Shepherd Neame, sponsors to Kent County Cricket Club and brewers of Britain's oldest beer, do not provide cask beer at the county ground.

Shame on them.

A CAMRA beer tent at the annual cricket festival however, can get through up to 50 casks in 4 days!

Cooking Lager said...

A sports club bar that is open only on match days cannot really ever do cask. A simple product is required. The origin of the infamous first ever keg beer ‘red barrel’ was whilst it was designed for foreign markets it was first used in a golf club a Watneys family member used that complained about cask beer going off mid week. The problem with keg beer is not that it’s inherently poor, but that it tries to imitate cask. Many great foreign beers are served in keg format. When the British real ale jihadists start to appreciate good beer rather than whether it conforms to an artificial criteria they used to differentiate between beers in the 1970’s, you might see a market for good keg beers and tasty beers served in Sports Club bars. Until then, Carlsberg anyone?

Melissa Cole said...

@Cooking Lager - I completely agree with you that a sports club that isn't open every day can't do cask but the Oval/Edgbaston on test match days don't exactly need to worry about that.

@Fatman - I know, it's just ridiculous that all these brewers pump all this money & sponsorship into these clubs and they can't get their act together to provide a decent level of cask ale! Mind you, the service is soooo bad at the Oval in the club bars (the Marston's stand was very polite) that three years ago I had to actually teach the bar manager what the hell the HIT system was for because they were pouring all head and no beer and the queues were astronomical!

Cooking Lager said...

Whilst the attendance numbers and the fact that test cricket is run over days point to one of the key factors in favour of cask, where a rugger stadium may only sell beer once a fortnight over the season, there are still a number of areas that don't.

The fact that cask requires a degree of specialist care taken precludes any establishment where beer is not of significant or prime importance. The cricket is the reason for the event, the hospitality a revenue stream.

If you ask the punters what they want, most will not ask for cask ale. They will ask for cheaper prices, as such events tend to be a sting.

Putting cask ale on involves a more complicagted and costly hospitality arrangement of little interest to many cricket fans.

Laurent Mousson said...

"If you ask the punters what they want, most will not ask for cask ale. They will ask for cheaper prices, as such events tend to be a sting."

Hmmm, isn't, on average, cask ale cheaper by the pint than national keg/nitrokeg brands in the UK ??

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