Monday, 21 June 2010


A few years ago, at a beer festival, I made the error of describing something as "new wave real ale", drawing ridicule from other people at the bar. But the barman I was talking to knew what I was on about, which is the main thing. It was the kind of extra-pale bitter with American hops made by the likes of Oakham Ales. At the time I thought JHB with its intense, lemony hoppiness was a revelation.

There have always been straw-coloured bitters such as Boddington's, but this didn't stop CAMRA inventing a new category called Golden Ale to distinguish the new beers rapidly becoming more popular from old-fashioned brown bitter. CAMRA's categorisation body doesn't really seem to have got the point though, describing the style rather contemptously as a brewers' attempt to attract lager drinkers.

Now scooper extraordinaire (and now brewer) Gazza Prescott has gone one further and declared such beers should be known as Mid-Atlantic Pale Ales. Tandleman has stuck his oar in too.

I agree with almost everything Gazza (and Tandleman, for that matter) has written on the subject. Except for the name. Can you imagine going into a pub and saying "Hey mate, got any Mid-Atlantic Pale Ales on today?"

It already has a name. Pale and hoppy. Or, and this is the usage I would like to encourage, Poppy for short.

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