ALE November/December 1996 No. 286

Roast Pork and Manure Stuffing

It was in the early days of CAMRA, 1975, when most pubs served either keg beers or real ale on top pressure, a group of members from Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight were invited to the Hall & Woodhouse (Badger Beer) brewery in Blandford Forum. They were given the full V.I.P. treatment - brewery tour, booze-up etc. and a chat from the Head Brewer, Jock Woodhouse. The subject of C02 dispense was inevitably brought up and Mr. Woodhouse explained that in his considered opinion, C02 was a by-product of the brewing process and as a result it was quite legitimate to use it thus. This statement was met by several guffaws and blahs, but one elderly stalwart rose to his feet and said, "Sir, manure is a by-product of pigs but never served with roast pork". Mr. Jock, as he was known, was dumbfounded.

It is considered that this one statement instigated the removal of top pressure taps from Hall & Woodhouse pubs, and the installation of handpumps.

These days we see a resurgence of the use of C02, not so much as a means of dispense, but more secretly in the form of cask breathers. Whilst there might be an argument in favour of such preservative measures, in cricket or rugby clubs for example, wholesale use of cask breathers by certain of our regional brewers must be viewed in the same light as serving roast pork with a piquant stuffing of manure.

Furthermore, the modern gas is a cocktail of C02 and Nitrogen, the largest gas in air, apparently inert. This cocktail not only fizzes the beer but also imparts a sweetness, thus changing the character of what may be a delicate palate.

Again, we need to campaign against extraneous adjuncts to our favourite tipple. Ask your publican if he uses a cask breather. If he does, is it really necessary?

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Cambridge & District CAMRA