Is Cask Finished?

It has been a mixed bag of a week since my last post with both good and not so good news.

Warwickshire winning the Schweppes County Championship for the first time since 2012 was definitely in the good news category whilst sitting through Blues’ goalless draw with Preston wasn’t as bad as it sounds…

However, Tamworth Mark posted some grim news that Cask Ale is dying out, as pubgoers are still reluctant to flock to boozers.

But, I have to say, since the pubs reopened there is still cask on and some decent amber nectar too.  Granted, the days of ten hand pumps on a Wednesday might be long gone but is that such a bad thing?  Much better a tighter range as long as there is turnover and that might, just might keep it alive.

Of course, CAMRA can focus on saving cask ale again and there will be a tight range from on the bar so it will be retro time once again.

This will suit 675 -The Three Merry Lads S42 7AJ which is on the main road in Cutthorpe but, more importantly, backs onto the cricket ground.

I was there watching one of my offspring play cricket in what is arguably Derbyshire’s coldest cricket ground and had been there for a good four hours and noted the pub opened at 3pm…

The beauty of cricket, as Duncan will testify, is that there are plenty of breaks and I reckoned, having seen Beermat junior take a wicket and studied the batting order, I was good for half an hour at least.

The Gaffer was a friendly feller and having opened at 3pm there were already five old boys in the corner enjoying the craic.

I reckon I was the first punter on the Pedigree (Marston’s) as he pulled it through beforehand but it was magnificent.  He was quite worried it wouldn’t be but, the landlords who fret, often produce the best pints.

We spoke about the future of cask and he said one was enough with Black Sheep next on the agenda.  Surprisingly, he said he didn’t pick up much trade from the cricket club but a lot of the local villages supported him and there are enough chimney pots nearby to keep this well positioned pub ticking over.

I mean, what could be more British than watching cricket in sub zero temperatures whilst having a pint next door?

Pubs matter more than cask ale but as long as pubs like this keep producing great beer than surely it is going to last…

24 thoughts on “Is Cask Finished?

  1. Phew, wondered where you’d got to !

    Lovely read as always with some great observation. “The landlords who fret, often produce the best pints.” is spot on, as is the point about less beers being better.

    Coincidentally, I was very close to the Three Merry Lads this afternoon as I watched Sheffield United Women at Chesterfield, and two pubs there with 6 or 7 cask beers but few cask customers suggest you got the better of the deal.

    More from Chesterfield, please. Did your lad’s team win ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chesterfield is magnificent and very underrated…how was the game? I’m all for lots of choice but if less people are drinking it then less is more 🍺
      It was the Beermat girl and she managed to record a handsome victory!


      1. Oh, well done Beer Mat girl. Excuse my lazy sexism. I love the women’s cricket and my favourite commentators are both female.

        Obviously a full report on Sheff U Women 3 v (unlucky) Watford 0 to follow, but I was very impressed with the quality, shouting “good block, mate” and “oh, mate” throughout

        I guess the fact you forget it’s women is the biggest compliment I can make. Probably Stafford Rangers level, with tackling to match. SIX medical interventions in the second half, meaning we had 10 added minutes. Crowd of 403 not bad at all, shame we don’t get the hand-pumped Brampton beer the men do !

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Cask is definitely troubled in London , except in the dedicated ale specalist pubs and the outlying micros are holding up well, I feel the lack of ale in town is generally more by design than circumstance.
    I found no lack of good cask at all recently in Sheffield, the greater quantity being in good nick too.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Citra has good perspective on this. Beer quality has been very good in Sheffield, though yesterday in Chesterfield it was only really impressive in the specialist in the one specialist micro (six middle-aged blokes like me) with beer a bit thin in the other two GBG entries.

    “Cask is troubled” can mean two things. A pub which reduces the handpumps from six to two but sells enough for it to be good beer is still selling less cask which means less demand for small breweries.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve been in about 45 different pubs since reopening and haven’t come across any that had no cask where I would have expected to see it. Obviously the quality varied, but neither have I had any that was clearly well past its best.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. It’s not such a rosy picture in the west of Scotland for cask but on my travels it has generally been available a d good quality. Great pub name. I think future blogs should contain film clips of Beermat Junior’s wickets but guess we might have to wait till next season for that. Great to see women’s sport given proper coverage at last.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One of the bonuses of taking beermat juniors to sporting events is that when it’s training only it does leave great scope to visit pubs!!!
      Yes, Scotland appears to be in a long battle with cask that I’m not sure it will win…
      Some great pints out there still though snd fingers crossed it continues

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Huff & puff all we want (and the picture is undoubtedly patchy), but Morning Advertiser ran about three items recently stating cask sales around 40% down on equivalent weeks in 2019. Now obviously all on-sales are still down, and who knows where the market will eventually bounce back to, but this ties in with what seeing, and talking with landlords, around Hertfordshire (and the odd trip into London): they unanimously worried about, and presently been cutting down, on cask orders.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Just back from a couple of nights in Harrogate BB and whilst the pubs were depressingly quiet and several had no cask I was delighted to find ten hand pumps on at the magnificent Harrogate Tap on Monday afternoon so all is not lost.

    Liked by 1 person

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