"I gather there's been a lot of blathering about cask beer quality", the Professor said, dragging us into his workroom.
We knew what he was talking about, so didn't even attempt to interrupt his flow.
"All kinds of explanations have been offered - lack of traditional cellar skills, rubbish little micros, not enough people drinking the stuff to give the throughput, the failure of CAMRA and, for that matter, Cask Marque to adequately signpost good beer - all true to an extent. But see here!"
He waved a small device at us.
"Oh no, Prof", we groaned, "Not another hopelessly infeasible invention?".
"No indeed!", he chuckled, "It's a thermometer!"
"You see", he continued, "much cask beer is simply too warm."
We wondered if it could really be so simple.
"In many cases, for sure. Yes.", He gestured at a recent blog post on the Cask Marque site.
"See, 18% of accredited pubs were selling bad, or at least not good, beer, and 49% of the others also".
We must have looked surprised, and he continued "Yes, only 82% of Cask Marque pints were really fit to drink in the summer of 2013. Brave of them to hold their hand up if you ask me. And of the other pubs, you stand about an evens chance of getting a decent pint. And of the 'not good' beers 'virtually all were at least in part due' to being too warm! Too warm before it gets to the pub, and finings will fail. To warm in the cellar and the beer will almost certainly be flat, if not actually spoiled. Too warm in the glass and it just plain won't be nice!"
"What's to be done? you ask, Stringers."
We hadn't, as he hadn't given us chance, but nodded anyway.
"Brewers and distributors can make sure that beer doesn't get too warm in the supply chain - I'm sure most of them are on top of this. Don't leave beer sitting outside in the summer. Look to your cellar, python and (if you've got it) cylinder cooling. Don't serve it in hot glasses. Get a thermometer! Check the temperature of the beer!"
We were edging towards the door as the Prof waved his thermometer around wildly. He noticed, smiled and drew a breath, "Also, Stringers, you might want to have a look into Cask Breathers".
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