The CAMRA never lies

I am getting old now.  To prove it, I got a subscription to Private Eye earlier this year.  To really prove it, though, a couple of weeks ago I joined Camra (the Campaign for Real Ale).

Is this ale real?

Middle-agedness aside, I'm not entirely sure why I did this.  I very much support the campaign against homogenization of beers, pubs, and high streets, and I love the idea of real ales, but I'm not a genuine beer-lover.  I drink real ale because I think I should, rather than because I adore its taste.

There is one thing, however, that I am very glad to have discovered now that I've joined Camra: the National Beer Scoring System.  Imagining as I do that most die-hard real ale aficionados are scowling curmudgeons actively seeking disappointment, the descriptions for each of the scores are fantastic.

They go like this:

0: Undrinkable.  The quality of the real ale is so poor you cannot drink it, and must take it back.  To uphold the honour of Camra, you must also disembowel the landlord.

1: Dreadful.  Beer that is barely drinkable or which can only be forced down with considerable resentment.  You must punch the landlord in the kidneys at least four times.

2: Adequate.  A drinkable pint, but one which does not inspire you, and which you drink without really noticing.  You should probably move to another pub, but beer is a psychoactive depressant, so the ennui will be overwhelming and you will remain where you are, grumblingly accepting that this mediocre ale is all you could really expect from life.  You must scowl at the landlord.

3: Middling.  Expecting as you were to drink a pint of tepid ditch-water, you are disappointed to find that the beer is alright.  You scowl at the landlord on principle, but decide to stay in the pub.  After 5 pints of the stuff, you'll probably regard the beer as magnificent, and the landlord as your bessie mate, but this would be wrong of you.

4: Not bad.   To your eternal confoundedness, this beer is actually surprisingly drinkable.  You begrudgingly tell the landlord that his beer is 'not bad'.  Your colleagues nod in agreement.  "Not bad," they concur.  The landlord can probably display this recommendation on his blackboard and flyers.

5: Decent.  Decent beer in decent condition.  The best you can possibly hope for in this day and age, what with pints costing a fortune, and the country going to the dogs, and the missus having run off with the fitness instructor.  You hug the landlord and sob bitter tears into his manly chest.

0