I wonder if he'd like to visit Lancaster. We've been singularly
unsuccessful in getting any of the local Cask Marque assessors to come to
talk to us. Everyone thinks it would be a fascinating talk but they're
very rel;uctant to even reply to us.
Is it true that Wetherspoons are given a blanket Cask Marque with a
scaled-down inspection? Because if they are, then that seems to devalue CM
in my mind.
We got Mike Parker, a cask marque inspector, who is also brewer at
Hesket Newmarket brewery to talk to one of our meetings. He was
really interesting and worthwhile. Certainly reassured us about their
Lancaster wouldn't be all that far down the M6 for him. Try him!
We once had a Cask Marque inspector talk to our local CAMRA branch. And that
bloke could bore for England! He also drank lager, which didn't exactly
The fundamental idea behind the scheme is great, but unfortunately it seems
to fall down in the execution.
"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime
and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of civilisation in any
country." (Winston Churchill)
In message , PeterE
I used to be totally prejudiced against CM because of the beer quality
in the pubs they had 'approved' in my local area. As the scheme has
spread I have changed my opinion .
If a landlord was capable of consistently keeping beer in a reasonable
condition before accreditation then the beer quality can improve by
following CM recommendations/changes.
If the landlord/manager was incapable of keeping a beer in good
condition before accreditation then very little changes with being award
a CM. The main difference being that you get cold, rather than warm,
I still wonder how a brand new pub belonging to a large chain can
display a CM plaque a few weeks after opening and was selling beer in
poor condition at the time. Surely a CM should indicate that the beer
sold is of good quality and not 'has the potential to be good because
the manager has demonstrated that he has done it before - in a different
pub with different cellar staff''?
In article ,
That's the real issue.
In many cases the cellarman and the manager are different people and
provided the a good cellarman can keep the manager out of the cellar the
beer is fine no matter which "manager" is on duty for that session.
Perhaps the key is to get CM to remove the award when the cellarman
After all removing it with the manager would mean several changes of CM
labelling per week (or a couple a day in some pubs)
do you go to the same crap W'spoons? or do you mean that every CM pub
you've been to has sold beer in poor nick?
in general, my recent experience of Spoons beer quality has been OK
(nice pint of Beartown Ambeardextrous in Birkenhead last week, cheap
too) my main complaint is the mildly plastic atmosphere in most of
To my dismay I see that (at least the three I visit regularly) wetherspoons
have now added extra teats & sparklers to "enhance" the head on the beer. As
this takes an age to settle I guess the idea is that they get less requests
In message , MikeMcG
In Henley (on Thames) they'd got pumpclips for Brakspears Ordinary and
Loddon Hoppit. They told us we couldn't have Brakspears so we ordered
Guess what came out of the pipe?
have you tried complaining to 'Spoons HQ &/or CM?
(I bet your letter won't get printed in 'Spoons in-house mag tho ;~)
just out of interest - why do you go back? if i had that many bad
experiences (which weren't resolved by decent staff) i would take my
thirst & money elsewhere.
I have almost given up expecting to find a good pint of real ale in
London - at least semi-locally. I have a place in Walthamstow - what
are my options? The Anchor and Hope is under new management so that's
the Pride gone. The Cricketers is very variable for McMullens. There
are a few places in Leyton that try to serve real ale but it is
generally not good. I'll get a decent pint maybe only one in ten
times. When I go to a 'Spoons these days, like the Drum or the Walnut
Tree, I quickly end up drinking bottles of Kozel.
And talking of bottled beers, these are generally not as good as they
used to be. And some beers have been destroyed, like Abbot Ale, which
used to be a brilliant pint, both draught and from a bottle.
And as for CAMRA, they are not going to earn anough money to keep
going if they are honest and say that no pubs in their area can serve
a decent pint. And that real ale is now made in huge factories rather
than brewed in local breweries using local water and traditional
techniques and that the taste of that brew has been lost.
I am in Munich, most of the time and it didn't take me long to spot
that Augustiner is by far the best beer here. I drink it in a place
where they serve the Helles out of a wooden barrel. And it is a "real"
wooden barrel. Made of wood and with wood on the inside as well. The
beer is filtered, which I am quite glad of, as that barrel gets rolled
along the floor before being lifted up and having a tap smashed into
it. The beer tastes fantastic, to me. And there is a beergarden called
the Augustiner Keller (not open now as it is freezing cold here) where
they serve the better Edelstoff. And that comes out of wooden barrels
as well. It is sublime. And there are better beers than that if you
are prepared to travel - and travelling is cheap here. I went to
Nürnburg where there are some small breweries and had a pint of Helles
in a place called the Altstadt brewery up near the castle. Again
filtered beer but it was out of this world.
When I come back to England then what I get served in a pub in London
or now drink out of a bottle is a great disappointment to me. Still, I
know two good pubs in Weymouth where I will be at Christmas. A town
that once had 80 pubs and a Devenish brewery with most of the pubs
good - they now have two good pubs. Bit of a shame to me.
an easy way to get in touch with CM might be here -
if you do, let us know how you get on.
I'd not heard about ther rumour that Spoons have a blanket scaled-down
inspection, I'm going to ask CM about it - will post if I hear
I got a response from CM's Alastair MacNaught re the rumours about
Spoons & Cask Marque accreditation. It doesn't answer why some
drinkers still regularly receive poor pints in CM accredited pubs tho.
He said he is happy to answer anyone else's concerns re CM & beer
quality in Wetherspoon's pubs, contact via the CM website or
copy of email -
Thanks for your email. As usual with most rumours it is not true!
Wetherspoons have absolutely no concessions and are treated no
from everyone else. The reason this rumour was probably started was
no licensee name goes on the certificate in the pub. This option is
available to any Cask Marque member and the reason Wetherspoons do it
because they wish to provide credit for all the members of the team in
pubs. However, the award has still gone to the licensee/manager.
We have had comments that Wetherspoons pubs know when we are coming -
only reason this can be is if one pub phones another pub around the
to say that we have just visited them and are likely to be on our way
them. But if the beer is poor it is going to fail whether they know we
coming or not and we try and find ways around these problems.
They certainly do not have blanket accreditation. They put forward
their pubs for the scheme but there are a fair number which are not
Hope this is useful.
Cask Marque Trust"
One of the things that puzzles me about the Cask Marque scheme is that
when a beer gets near the end of the barrel it is drinkable but
certainly not a perfect pint. What are members of this scheme supposed
to do? Pour it away? I used to drink Pride in the bar inside Marlybone
station when I worked out that way and it was perfect 2 times out of
3. This is what I would expect from a real ale unless it had been
filtered (does filtering it stop it from being a real ale by
definition?). So I had no complaints when I got the poorer one of the
three. I would just not have another that day and would wait until the
Their inspection regimen in London can not be that thorough as I do
not regard the presence of their badge on a pump any guarantee of a
good pint or even a better than normal one. Maybe they should check
the 'Spoons Walnut Tree in Leytonstone themselves and see if they get
a good pint even out of one of the Cask Marque pumps on any day in a
week. I haven't been there for a month but I am sure nothing will have