ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.

I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. Likewise, I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended.

Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Nothing to see here?

It's perhaps appropriate that during the visit of Sir Donald Trump to our fine native Covfefe, the Morning Advertiser has served up its latest misleading slice of fake news.

CAMRA yields to allow craft keg beer at GBBF reads the headline, announcing that, for the first time, the flagship beer festival of the Campaign will be serving beer that isn't cask.

Except that it's not news. It's clickbait. As I reported at the time, domestic keg was served two years ago. And again last year. And foreign keg beers have been a part of the action for about the last 30 years.

The main difference this time might be, if I'm reading it correctly, a dedicated keg bar, which social media is predictably hailing as long overdue and 'not before time'.

Really? Like, Really?

I'm unconvinced. Or at least, not altogether convinced. Broadening the choice of beer on offer at the GBBF is a good thing. Last year's festival was, in my considered view, the best there had been for some time, thanks in no small part to the beer range.

It's already Great...
But what if this new policy ultimately ends up reducing choice? What if, for example, it means that they decide to axe the popular USA cask bar and replace them with American keg beer? I daresay some kegophiles would welcome this, but the reality is that there are now plenty of craft beer bars in London where one can drink US beer in keg form. The GBBF is almost completely unique in offering a range of American beer in cask form, indeed with a bigger choice thereof than one is ever likely to find anywhere else at any given time, including anywhere in the States!

And what if the 'acceptability' of keg means that they no longer bother ordering certain styles of beer in cask? Or beers above a certain strength? The issues facing the drinker throughout the wider beer scene (having to make a deliberate choice between cask beer and good or interesting beer) would be magnified rather than confounded.

I drink keg beer sometimes. I don't go to GBBF to drink it though.

As I say, given that it's essentially fake news, I'm not worried yet, but maybe I should be?

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