ALE Summer 2004 No. 314 : Next section

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The Brown Stuff: Taking the Fizz!

It has to grudgingly admitted that Brownie Boy has these strange Northern roots due to being packed off to the wilds of West Yorkshire for his education when he should have been at The Leys or Sawston Village College. It gave me a grounding in life that probably accounts for the cantankerous old devil I am today. No matter, in the days "when I were a lad", the beer was regular and good (this is prior to the keg nonsense that led to CAMRA being set up), even in the West Riding of Yorkshire. I occasionally, mainly for humane purposes and as a missionary, venture North to see what is going on - you know, stopping them eating their young, etc.

North of Stamford we are greeted by the dreaded 'fizzer' or 'sparkler', the device that artificially adds air to real ale and ruins God's own beverage. I cannot understand how "oop norf" they have beer festivals and do not serve beer the way it should be, straight out of the barrel.

But is the menace lurking round the corner? Mr Brown was in a Trumpington pub, confronted by a row of pumps (without sparkler), and was served with a pint of Adnams Bitter that was, being generous, lousy. It had been served from the other bar (with sparkler), where they obviously would rather have a less cultured palate tasting the beer. I complained, but to no avail. I am all for condition in a beer, but not keen on this false agitation to our beers.

I remember a time in Liverpool being complimented by a publican for wanting what he called a beer wine, basically unlike the locals, a flat beer that you could savour, the way it should be served, but heaven forbid he offer the same to his heathens! Another classic time with one of my wives, I ventured into a pub in the Pennines and had the temerity to ask for the sparkler to be removed. The indignation that resulted was unbelievable!

Anyway the point is this foul practice is creeping into our culture, rebel now! We will not stand for it on our patch! If that is the way they like it in the North, good, but heaven forbid we take to adopting these awful practices - it's bad enough us drinking out of straight glasses, another Northern habit that has crept in over 30 years, as opposed to mugs with handles, the way it should be.

Jerry Brown

ALE Summer 2004 No. 314 : Next section
Cambridge & District CAMRA