Lately, and I have been committing a terrible crime.
This happens in every new drinking establishment in go in, and and even old favourites.
I walk in.
I step up to the bar.
I see the hand pumps.
I ignore them.
I look at the keg taps.
I look at the keg taps before even considering the cask selection.
What the fuck has the new wave of keg beer and my regular trips to London done to me?
I remember when I had what is commonly known as 'CAMRA syndrome', y'know, before I realised there was good keg beer as well as macro beer. Yes, dear readers, there was a time that I didn't even drink Carling. I didn't touch keg beer at all. I literally only drank cask ale.
I would sit in a pub and laugh at the fool who walks in and assesses the bar for 5 minutes even though he already knew what he wanted. All he wanted was a cold pint of Carling. There I was, at 18 years old, sneering at these pricks who wanted a keg beer.
I didn't even drink good foreign keg, would you believe? I was strictly cask.
Then one day, everything changed. A friend suggested going to the Belgian Monk. I was pretty ignorant at this point; I'd heard that the Belgians were big on beer but I'd never had any. "Why not? I'm up for going somewhere new! I said (up until this point I think I only ever drank at the fat cat) and we went. We walked in. I was lost. Where are the hand pumps? Are we in the wrong pub? We were in the right pub." Get the cherry beer?" said my buddy "cherry beer? Are you on crack? That's not a thing!" I went to the bar and asked for "the cherry one" and felt stupid doing so. I loved it. It was sweet and a bit sour. What the fuck? This was a beer served on a tap like fosters that had some flavour. Sure, it was cherry flavour but it was flavour nonetheless. That beer, and the first keg beer I ever remember enjoying was Ter Dolen Kriek.
It progressed slowly. I'd still usually pick a cask ale but occasionally I'd see if there was something unusual on the kegs. I had Erdinger for the first time in the fat cat. I fell in love with German beer.
I continued pretty much strictly drinking cask ale and bottled beers until last year when I went to London for a gig and stopped at a bar I'd heard was good called the Euston tap. I still laugh at myself for not being able to find it at first. I walked in. Wow. Look at the taps, the fridges, the boards! American stuff I'd only had in bottles on keg! Fuck! The first pint i had, and the one I wanted more than anything was Brewdog Punk IPA. The excitement after drinking it from a bottle and rather disappointing cask was unbearable. That first sip made me do a little jump for joy! I only had time for one more pint that night, before getting a train home; a long time American bottle favourite, Flying Dog Doggy Style Pale Ale. An absolute classic
That 45 minute stop started my journey to realising that I needed to look for keg more often.
I then started taking more regular trips to London and visiting the craft beer bars I'd read all about, and drinking obscure American, Danish and even British keg beer. In Norwich I stuck to cask mostly, aside from the occasional Belgian Monk trip until one day I was in The Rumsay Wells and noticed they had some Meantime beers on keg. What? British keg in Norwich? Sign me up!
Cask was always a priority until this year when I've been going to London pretty much every month.
Cask doesn't matter to me in London. Its all about keg.
And then, the about a month ago Norwich Tap house opened. 20 keg taps. Brewdog, Camden Town, Magic Rock, Redwillow...
So this is my crime.
I have neglected cask ale for the most part and I don't know whether or not I'm sorry. Whatever I drink, whether it's Carling or Castle Rock Harvest Pale I'm still supporting the beer industry, right?
I'm proud that I've managed to grow up and get more of an appreciation and understanding about different dispense methods also being awesome
I probably do need to drink more cask ale again though and I promise to try.