Is real ale enthusiasm a worthwhile hobby?
'Beer Tickers – Beyond the Ale' (http://www.beertickersfilm.com/) was previewed on 15th December in the Sheffield Showroom. Real Ale enthusiasm is a fast growing hobby that has recently attracted more and more students as well as having a devoted core community. Are 'beer tickers' revitalising an important part of British culture or just trying to justify drinking lots of beer?
Supports good trading standards and local businesses.
CAMRA actively fight for good trading standards, such as good ingredients in beer and full measures when serving beer.
(1. Protect and improve consumer rights
2. Promote quality, choice and value for money
3. Support the public house as a focus of community life
4. Campaign for greater appreciation of traditional beers, ciders and perries as part of our national heritage and culture
5. Seek improvements in all licensed premises and throughout the brewing industry.) [[http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=about]]
Local breweries and pubs are supported against harsh competition from multi-nationals. More and more pubs are closing down due to the recession. By becoming involved in the real ale community, people have a chance to be informed and involved in this issue that affects everyone in Britain who are losing their social hubs.
This is only political activity on a small scale that won't solve the problem at the roots. Besides, pubs are still closing down[[http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/latest/2009/07/22/pubs-closing-down-at-record-rate-115875-21538228/]] , despite cask ale pubs closing down less frequently[[http://realale.union.shef.ac.uk/?page_id=15]] - maybe it doesn't work?
Teaches important skills.
Young people who become involved in the real ale community are learning to appreciate and expect good quality beer, to analyse, compare and contrast beers, to do more research about beer on their own initiative and to appreciate how it is made, talk to brewers and maybe discuss what will become a job prospect for them in their local community. These skills are transferable to any subject and are useful for them in education and looking for work.
Surely it would be wiser for the students to do their research for their educational needs rather than seeing beer as a practice run for research. Given that beer is an intoxicating substance. The results of the research would end up being a facebook collage of drunken nights out. This is the reality of the situation. This will not help boozy Britain but hinder it. There are a variety of other more educational, more productive hobbies for the young to undertake.
Keeps British tradition alive while not endorsing racism.
Beer itself is an important part of British culture[[http://www.realale.com/article_info.php?articles_id=24]]. Real ales use traditional brewing methods and ingredients. Beer festivals also tend to be accompanied by traditional food and entertainment such as Ceilidh bands. However, beer festivals do not attract racism and are often internationally based or endorse international beers. It is important that there are institutions where national pride does not lead to racism, as the two are not necessarily the same thing.
Actually, whether drinking alcohol is permitted in Islam is very disputed. I personally believe that alcohol is not prohibited:
Since the Prophet Hazrat Yousef(Joseph in the Bible) met a king's wine bearer in prison , whose dream he accurately interpreted(very vividly describing a future of the wine bearer juicing fermented grapes for the King) and whom he never admonished for making or drinking alcohol in the parable in the Quran. In fact, the wine bearer takes him out of prison to meet the King( whom 'again' hazrat Yousef does not preach against drinking alcohol). When Hazrat Yousef becomes King and meets/forgives his cruel brothers; the wine bearer, without whom Hazrat Yousef would be rotting in prison; is in his appointment(obviously serving wine).
I have read that 'any' form of intoxication/addiction/overindulgence-even-in-playing-games-such-as-chess-and-praying-more-than-the-last-prophet is harshly discouraged. Sheesha is a cultural thing not a religious one, in fact smoking too much Sheesha is just as unislamic as getting drunk.
However; Sufi saints( the spiritual dancing dervishes of Islam) advocate intoxication(via alcohol and other drugs) to get into the 'haal'/high/elation/euphoria to be close to or one with Allah/God.
Racial tolerance is not something actually actively forwarded by beer festivals. Appreciating the beer of other nations is not the same as respecting other people, and very few of the ethnic minorities that are actually targeted by racism are going to be represented – Muslims don't drink alcohol.
An excuse to drink beer.
There is no way of pursuing a hobby that involves trying out lots of different kinds of beer without drinking lots of beer. Considering that more and more young people are being attracted to real ale as a hobby, this can seem rather worrying.
Students are going to drink a lot anyway.
Real ale culture does not include many of the negative impacts of drinking alcohol. Real ale has natural, less harmful ingredients of a higher quality, real ale measures are more precisely controlled and real ale enthusiasts don't tend to binge drink (not only is it too expensive, it is impossible to appreciate and anaylse one's beer beyond a certain level of drunkenness).
Not recession friendly.
Real ale is an expensive hobby, involves consumable unnecessary goods and consuming real ale leaves you in a less fit state to work.
Drinking real ale in order to sample it isn't that expensive - it can be done in groups, trying each other's beer before deciding whether to buy their own, and third of a pint glasses are often available in real ale pubs now. Compared to other hobbies that involve sampling good quality food and drink, such as wine or chocolate, it isn't that expensive, and just like any hobby, you can choose not to do it if you don't have the money. Besides, drinking can raise morale, which is always useful in hard times.
Not a social hobby.
Real ale enthusiasm is still unfashionable among young people, despite a rise in popularity among students.[[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/1466449.stm]] It is seen as an activity involving making lists and obsessing over things, like trainspotting, and real ale is seen as beer that is too warm and has stupid names.
Every hobby has its community. Beer-ticking tends to attract an obsessive type of person, not create it, and it is better for there to be some kind of social community for people who aren't interested in mainstream social groups. Not only that, but it tends to happen in pubs and other places that facilitate social gathering. Beer, as a fairly common denominator in England, isn't that socially limiting an obsession compared to some.
What do you think?