Time was CAMRA beer festivals would feature mini-controversies amongst all the imbibing and enjoying. One year, for example, I recall becoming quite embroiled in a debate among members as to whether the golden ale à la Hopback Summer Lightning and a growing host of others was a blessing or a curse to British beer. On another occasion, and part of a more protracted debate, the worth and influence of American beers was hotly contested.
This year, however, it seems that at least those two items are non-issues.
Judging from my experiences at the Great British Beer Festival, which continues through Saturday at London’s Earls Court, gold has become much more the colour of choice among British brewers, with almost every one of my notepad descriptions of bitter beginning with “Golden of hue, this beer…” And as for American beers and their influence, well, the never-ending crowds at the American portion of Bières Sans Frontières will attest to their popularity.
And speaking of which, was that a faint note of American hop in the second half of the taste of the Champion Beer of Britain, Rudgate Ruby Mild? Seems a bit like it to me.