How can you belong...

Interesting that I've had (privately received) criticism for negativity in my review of CAMRA's Good Beer Guide yesterday.

So, let's clarify.

I'm a member of a campaigning organisation. I don't attend branch meetings. Yet I do attend meetings with government ministers. I do criticise policy. This is not 'being in the tent, talking to no-one and pissing out'. This is doing what I can do in my own way.

I drink both Alesmith Speedway Stout and Stella Artois. But never with the same people in the same places. It doesn't make my beer choice catholic, eclectic or confused. It is what it is - drinking the beers I like with the people I like in the places I like. All of which happen to be different on occasion.

I write about beer but don't have to write about beer. I'm not a member of a Guild but I appreciate how some people want to be. I'm friends with some brewers but not beholden to them.

I'm comfy with the beer skin I'm in.

Like the Labour Party, soft cheese and pubic hair, beer is one of those things that I've learned to love. Not necessarily all the time, not necessarily in line with current fashion, but there's a seismic, shifting relationship there.

I'd be disappointed in myself if I was unflinchingly positive about everything all the time. For then I'd be working in PR.

The antitheses of belonging and championing are not denying and decrying.

Criticism isn't negativity.

Beer is a wider horizon. If you can't see that, you need to ditch the Fuggles-tinted shades.


  1. Sounds like you, too, have been contacted by the "you belong to my lobbying group" or "you were elected my unpaid brand ambassador" police:

  2. Like the Labour Party, soft cheese and pubic hair, beer is one of those things that I've learned to love.

    I've loved three of those since the very first time we met (around the same time, give or take a year or two). More of a love/hate relationship with the other one. We've had our ups and downs.

  3. These kind of actions/attitudes just reinforce the stereotype/accurate reflection of active CAMRA members and how irrelevant they are to the booming British beer scene which is moving away from the CAMRA view.

    Method of dispense doesn't matter, quality of the beer does.

    From not a CAMRA member, but should be.

  4. Weird. Thought your review was very fair.

  5. It's a blog, innit? Write what you like when you like. Even if it is rank heresy ;-)

  6. Just don't criticise CAMRA ever. Them's the rules. I don't make 'em.

    Dontcha realise like they saved beer or summat?