For some reason, the term “Real Ale” has cropped up several times recently on my newsfeeds or in online searches. The American Homebrewers Association recently posted an online article on cask conditioning in which they address how homebrewers could produce their own Real Ale. The latest reference to this term came in a beer blog that I follow: Ed’s Beer Site. A post on May 2, reminded us that CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) promotes Mild Ale during the month of May. I’m all for such a promotion! I love mild ales although they are notoriously difficult to find here in the States. So, I brew my own! Anyway, this post is not about mild ales, but about the aforementioned organization.
CAMRA is an interesting organization. Those of us interested in Medieval brewing should appreciate the goals of this group. What are the goals? According to the CAMRA website: CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale is an independent, voluntary organisation campaigning for real ale, community pubs and consumer rights. CAMRA also advocates for “Real Cider” and “Real Perry” as well. CAMRA currently has over 170,000 members
What is “Real Ale?” According to CAMRA, Real Ale is brewed using traditional ingredients and then matures in a secondary fermentation in the container from which it will be served with no addition of CO2. Essentially, CAMRA began in 1971 as a reaction to overly-processed beer that lost much flavor through filtering, pasteurization, and other “industrial” processes.
In addition to promoting Real Ale, CAMRA recognizes the importance of the Public House in the lifestyles and social fabric of English villages. These establishments have a long history dating back many hundreds of years. Given my interest in brewing in the Middle Ages, I find much about CAMRA that I can support.
Whether you bottle-condition or use a wooden cask for final conditioning…HERE’S TO REAL ALE!