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Occasionally we will have an experience in a pub that really disappoints us. As is atypical for British people, it is the more disappointing experiences that lead to those online reviews most places of business dread. But, as with the advice I gave to breweries in my last post, any criticism for a pub, bar, restaurant etc should be looked into and taken with an air of solemnity in case it is an area that can be seriously improved upon.

You can’t please everybody, and some people are just serial moaners to the point that you never will, but each complaint should still be investigated to be sure there aren’t improvements to be made. That is the protocol I’d expect from my favourite pub. When I heard that they’d recently received a 1 star review on Trip Advisor with a complaint, I thought I’d have a nosey, though I suspected I already knew which customer may have written it.

Lo and behold the first “sentence” (or at least what I suspect was supposed to be punctuated as one) confirms it was the person who I had heard complain at the bar. Slightly amused I carried on reading as everybody is entitled to a little rant should they want one. And then my amusement stopped. Here is this Homo Sapien’s review in full:

Not that it even needs to be said but the “tramp” in question is 20 years of age. They are also a gorgeous soul and impress me continuously with their unique ability to be able to smile and be friendly with every single customer; an ability that I certainly don’t possess hence why I could never work a bar. To refer to them with any insult would be disgusting.

But to use this terminology – this disgusting offensive terminology – because this reviewer was unhappy with a beer is beyond reprehensible. It may be a word but it changes the tone of this entire review.

What is also worrying is the association they make with that group again. CAMRA may constantly be battling this stereotype that they are just a tired, prejudice, old men’s club, but such incidents do nothing to help. Say that it has nothing to do with the society, but here is somebody clearly saying, “I’m from CAMRA and know better – I won’t be told different from a woman.” The attitude is to associate themselves with the campaign to try and justify their behaviour.

I don’t want to hear the normal reaction of “You can’t say this one person speaks for us all.” Not ALL CAMRA MEMBERS. I’m a CAMRA member so if I was openly insulting every single member, I’d be insulting myself. Plus, arguing about appropriation is tiring. As will be the inevitable comment that use of the word was okay for Rodgers and Hart in 1937. 

For those about to make the other tired reaction, yes I have contacted my local CAMRA branch to speak to them about this. I'm not expecting any sort of statement but it would be wrong for me to write this without making them aware that such a person is putting their name to us all. And also to make sure this person isn't involved in any campaigning or event organising. I expect them to at least answer me that by e-mail. 

To put the rest of the review into context, the beer the person was originally unhappy with is an unfined pale from a fairly local brewery. There was a slight haze due to this but not much. I know. I was drinking it at the same time. The only problem with the beer (that is described in the review as "shocking") was this natural haze. On returning his beer he was politely informed that it was unfined and there wasn't a problem. 

There is an issue with this because there are still plenty of drinkers that will not accept the idea of unfined beer. That is a discussion for another time on how to approach the subject with customers and how we educate. Plenty of drinkers still consider it an excuse and so the conversation needs to be had.

There is zero excuse for throwing insults around because you personally don’t like the idea. 

I will draw attention to this kind of bullshit as long as I am seeing it. I will draw attention to it as long as people saying this bile feel they can hide behind CAMRA. I will draw attention to it whilst the organisation supports and publishes prominent members who have written about how they don't think such attitudes are a problem. "But... but... there was a leaflet telling them not to be arseholes..." "But... but... what about other sexist atrocities around the globe...."

I hope the pub looks at how it can discuss unfined beers with its customers more should they want the conversation. I hope that the hard workers there can continue to do so without being reviewed by misogynists. I hope for more positive posts and positive reviews from everybody, including myself. I hope this reviewer enters the pub again so he can be barred in person. If you're unhappy you can say so in any format you choose. This is completely different though and I hope we all recognise that.


Beermunster said…
Any pub that serves unfined beer needs to make customers aware that it may be hazy before they order it or they are asking for trouble. This isn't a defence of the individual in your post, but I suspect a decent percentage of customers would not be happy with a hazy pint of cask ale if they weren't warned about it in advance.
skyblue67 said…
Yeah, but a CAMRA member (and therefore someone with knowledge of beer allegedly) should be fully aware that some beers are unfined and hazy, it's not that unusual these days. I'm a CAMRA member too but the amount of beer ignorance exhibited by some fellow members defies belief.
DaveS said…
Jaysus - at first I read "tramp" as referring to someone a bit scruffy or something, then clocked that she was female and I literally can't even...
Unknown said…
Annoys me when people use 'I'm CAMRA' as some kind of indication of knowledge, but equally annoyed by people giving it legitimacy. Saying 'I'm a tax payer' doesn't mean you understand business rates and I'm sure HMRC doesn't loose any sleep over it
Mark Johnson said…
It's a weird area. I think if you've been drinking for a long time and it's ingrained in you that any sort of cloudiness is bad then it is difficult to be told otherwise. But yes, it is common enough these days that not being aware of it or willing to see if you can get on board with it seems a little stubborn. But again, maybe more education in CAMRA publications. We can only try
Unknown said…
We make a point of telling people on our Pumpclips, its there in black & white so as to help educate those Pin-bright-Luddites. Every time we do a beer as Unfined I think it tastes way better than if we fined it.
Anonymous said…
Yep........ you can't polish a turd though eh !

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