The question of craft vs real ale and keg vs cask are the current arguments in the world of beer.   These are merely words which a person or set of people have chosen to represent a group of similar products.  It makes describing a pint of Black Sheep Bitter a two word affair, its “Real Ale” not “A beer from a non mainstream multinational brewer, but not necessarily a small local brewer, although it could be from such a company, however it could come from subsidiaries of the mainstream multinational I’ve just mentioned, but it is brewed using traditional cask, non carbonated techniques and conditional in the vessel”.

By the time you have said all that, the person who asked you the question is onto his 2nd pint of Carlsberg or has fallen into a coma out of boredom.  But this is the real challenge even with long established terms like “real ale”, they have become a phrase of convenient reference.

Two challenges for you, I’m not saying my efforts are that good.

1) describe “real ale” in 30 words.  My effort is “A cask conditioned beer with no added gas on service, made from hops, barley, water and yeast with sometimes added natural flavours, typically from small to mid sized brewers”

2) describe “craft beer” using the same word limit.  My definition “A distinctive beer, from cask or keg, typically, but not exclusively from smaller brewers.  Characteristics include high IBU and atypical flavourings.  Traditional base ingredients, but can be nitro’ed.”

Its not that easy.

  1. Bailey says:

    But those aren’t bad! Just add “Personally, I define it as…” and you’re there.

    • admin says:

      I suppose I’m asking how you would explain to somebody in the pub or street quickly what the terms mean…..All things like this should be lead by “Personally, I define it as…” as you say.

  2. […] the UK, Sean Liquorish had a go at trying to tie down some definitions, using the terms “real ale” and […]