Wednesday 3 October 2012

"All Lager Tastes The Same"

In my local CAMRA newsletter, the Furness Innquirer (geddit?), I spotted this:

The irksome sentence occurs in a contributor's beer-related observations in an account of a holiday to India.

This sort of utterance boils my piss.

All lager does not taste the same. It doesn't; it really doesn't. The writer offers the caveat "to my tastebuds" but in doing so undermines his own status as a beer aficionado that is conferred by having his words published in a CAMRA publication. If the author's tastebuds are so deficient that all lagers taste the same to him then all ales must also taste the same.

The likely scenario is that the author simply hasn't tasted good lager and only got as far as Coors, Carling etc. – lagers that are designed to have minimum flavour.

What irks me is the possibility that a neophyte beer lover may read this and get the idea that there is some truth in it, after all it's in a CAMRA publication and CAMRA knows about beer, right? The neophyte may miss years of ecstatic bottom-fermented pleasure because of this horse shit. 

I know how that feels. It only dawned on me after ten or so years of beer drinking that lager may after all have some merit. I was a victim of exactly this sort of low-level brainwashing. I missed years of beery pleasure because of the anti-lager meme – and I've never even been a CAMRA member.

The standard Tandle-onian defence of this sort of hogwash is something like "they're only well-meaning amateurs, just overlook it." But no, I can't overlook it. It bothers me that this kind of anti-connoisseurship message carries the CAMRA imprimatur. It is a disservice to good beer.


Penguinno said...

There is still a lot more of this kind of thing in CAMRA publications - including the national ones - than they claim.

Haha - captcha was "alepurp" ;-)

Cooking Lager said...

Even the cooking lagers don't all taste the same. There is a difference in the taste of Carling, Fosters and Carlsberg. They may all be blandish, do sure but not identical. But heh, some folk can't tell the difference between Stork and Butter.

Ed said...

As someone who very rarely likes lagers, even the posh ones, this doesn't raise the temperature of my piss at all.

Alistair Reece said...

Ignoring the author's untrained tastebuds, I find the phrase prior to one you highlighted just as interesting:

'mainly whisky, which is either reasonably priced Indian madeor exorbitant Western maunfactured.'

Clearly from the context he (I assume) is talking about a trip to India and heaven forfend that that foreign whisky be more expensive than the locally made stuff - did the natives not accept his CAMRA discount vouchers? For some reason I see him mopping his fevered brow with a white hanky knotted at the corners....

Mark Johnson said...

I wouldn't bother. When I questioned a minority of CAMRA views the only constructive argument I received was that I was "talking bollocks." It's not a dig at them as a society, but this is just another on the list. No doubt you'll be told "one man's view doesn't represent everyone's," still pretending that this is a one off

Graeme Mitchell said...

I brew great, tasty lager and as far as I am concerned Camra can feck off.

Gazza Prescott said...

This is just, as you say, the kind of crap written by know-nowt nobodies that should never make it into print. give me well-brewed lager (Czech preferably) over 90% of real ales any day.

StringersBeer said...

I'm sure remember reading that in taste trials, people seem to do a bit better when they're presented with branding they're familiar with - it seems to make them more attentive to subtle differences. I'm sure we can imagine how a non-expert amateur "ale" fan, less "primed" to spot difference will indeed fail to detect it. Cookie, of course, is an acknowledged expert, and we'd be surprised if he couldn't taste the difference.

As far as this kind of thing being a "one off", of course it isn't. Millions of people don't know much about lager (commodity or quality) and they'd probably find it hard to tell brands apart. Quite a few of these people will be CAMRA members. But picking on a "what I did on my holidays" piece in a local newsletter? Too easy.

Tandleman said...

"The standard Tandle-onian defence of this sort of hogwash is something like "they're only well-meaning amateurs, just overlook it."

A bit unfair. I don't defend lager bashing, keg bashing or those that do it. It was as Stringers suggests a guy recounting his hols and no general conclusions can be drawn from it. Surely?

Unknown said...

Aha, you finally got around to writing this! Awesome!

It's all bollocks as it's not just CAMRA types who have this view. Had a conversation with my I.T. tech guy about lager yesterday. He doesn't drink beer. Just cider. He asked me "Why did you get a lager in the pub the other night? I thought you like ale. Don't all lagers just taste the same?" I explained that no, not all lager tastes the same but he still doesn't get it. "But aren't lagers designed just so people can get pissed?". No, Ben, absolutely not. I gave up after a while. This guy is stubborn. I tried to explain but to no avail.

For the record, I was drinking Jever Pilsner which is absolutely awesome and I could drink it forever.

Bloody people.

Damien said...


I hope that this email finds you well.

I recently came across whilst researching the Travel and Vacation sector and would like to discuss the possibility of paying you to display an advertisement on the site.

We have a large customer base of clients prepared to pay to display discrete adverts, contextually matched to the content of the page on high quality sites like yours, and this can be a great way to generate an income without compromising your website.

Please email me back if you would be interested in finding out more and I will send you a follow-up email outlining the opportunity in more detail.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.