The popularity of cask beer seems to be going from strength to strength. If you need evidence of this look to the recent acquisition by beer behemoth Molson Coors of Cornwall's Sharps Brewery. Witness also Calrberg's sniffing around Tetley's with fiscal predatory intent. And, if further proof were needed then look no further than the latest attempt by Heineken UK to capitalise on the growing interest in well made, cask conditioned beers.
Heineken UK have just announced that, from June to August, they will be offering to it's freetrade customers the opportunity to stock over 40 popular regional and seasonal beers from UK brewers.
The event, if you can call it that, is labelled Cask Orders and will be running alongside 17 national and regional champion ales that are currently available in their pubs throughout the year. To coincide with Cask Orders, Heineken UK will will installing hand pumps and interchangeable pumpclips.
So far, so good.
However, they haven't released which beers are going to be part of Cask Orders. Perhaps, some marvellous Mallinsons, some heavenly Hard Knott, or maybe some tremendous Tempest? I'd like to think that whoever has put the beer list together has done so with a bit of imagination and flair and uses this as an opportunity to get a wide range of tasty beers into their pubs. But, I reckon, I shouldn't hold my breath.
You see, Heineken UK happen to own Edinburgh's Caledonian Brewery. Which is, in my opinion, one of the dullest and least exciting breweries in Scotland. I think they produce yawn inducing, underwhelmingly boring beers. What's the betting that Cask Orders will be a vehicle for Heineken to inflict on the public such bollocks beers as Caledonian's Idleweiss, Lipsmacker and my worst beer of all time, their Mexican Bandit?
It's great that more people are drinking cask conditioned beer but I'd rather their entry point into the wonderful world of beer was something more tasty than boring, bland generic beer such as Caledonian.