National Cask Ale Week 2011 runs from the 1st to the 9th of October. The event is run as a joint venture by CAMRA and Cask Marque. This year, the event is themed, and the theme is ‘Try Before You Buy’.
In a good pub, you will always be able to try before you buy. The idea is that if you are unfamiliar with a beer on the bar, you can ask for a free sample to taste before you hand over any money. It doesn’t have to be a big sample, a mouthful is quite enough for you to decide whether you find a beer palatable or not. It’s not much to ask of a publican, and it can only enhance the reputation of the pub. If you are ever refused a taste before you buy, you should ask why, and if a satisfactory answer is not forthcoming (and let’s face it – it won’t be) you should just walk away.
The purpose of theming the Cask Ale Week is twofold – firstly to make those publicans who don’t know, aware of the fact that they should be running Try Before You Buy, and secondly to let drinkers know that this is available. This second point is particularly targeted at non-real ale drinkers who may just think that real ale is horrible and they’ll stick to their overpriced horsepiss, sorry, commercially brewed lager, thank you very much. If, however the opportunity actually to try a beer before buying it is available, then it is hoped that more non-real ale drinkers will be tempted to have a taste, and hopefully realize what they’ve been missing.
The Try Before You Buy theme’s objectives are to:
- Encourage new drinkers to try real ale.
- Allow customers to experiment with the many different styles of beer available, some they may not have tried before.
- To educate barstaff in the different styles and flavours of the many different kinds of real ale available.
- Advise bar staff how to operate Try Before You Buy.
Cask Marque have committed their 7,500 pubs to promote Try Before You Buy. If you find a Cask Marque pub that refuses, you should report it to Cask Marque. They’re not playing.
To find a participating Cask Marque pub near you, click this link.
So what should we do during CAW? Well CAMRA’s aims for the week are as follows:
- To encourage non-real ale drinkers to try real ale for the first time
- To encourage experienced real-ale drinkers to visit real ale pubs
- To encourage those pubs that do not stock real ale to start doing so.
- To encourage pubs to organise real ale events to encourage drinkers to drink real ale and to improve their own trade.
Here’s what you can do, then.
- Take a non-real ale drinking mate to the pub and buy him or her a pint of a really good real ale – s/he should be able to try it first, of course.
- If you’re a real ale drinker yourself, you won’t find this too difficult – go to the pub and down a couple of pints of the real stuff.
- If you’re feeling brave, go to the lager bar and ask them for some real ale!
- Actively support any local events related to real ale in pubs in your locality. To find events near you, click on this link.
Most of all, just enjoy yourself this week with a few jars of real ale. It’s Britain’s national drink. Cheers!
Visit the National Cask Ale Week website here.
Visit CAMRA’s National Cask Ale Week page here.
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