Julia Stephenson: The Green Goddess

A A A

Thinking I was looking undernourished, my squeeze decided to treat me to an afternoon at the Real Ale show in Earls Court. Not a treat that I might have dreamt up for myself, admittedly, and perhaps he was just getting revenge for being dragged to the Isles of Scilly for the world's most expensive eco-friendly mini-break.

Although I can't stand the taste of beer I'm a great supporter of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) which was organising the exhibition. As the country becomes increasingly homogenised by thousands of Tescos and local producers are being squeezed out of existence, it's thanks to the lobbying of Camra that we still have such a diverse range of ales available. Real ale tends to be produced in local breweries, often using barley from a nearby farm. Unlike dead, pasteurised, preservative-laden keg beer, real ale is a live substance and rich in B vitamins, iron and antioxidants.

Starting in the 1960s, the big brewers virtually killed off the real ale sector by forcing "tied" pubs to sell their own beers. Camra began as a voice of the ordinary people, who refused to have their product choice removed by big corporations and it hasfought many David and Goliath-style battles, saving local pubs from developers and increasing the number of independent brewers. It's an uphill battle, though. Eight out of 10 pints drunk in the UK are brewed by four global brewers.

The miseries of globalisation seemed a long way off at the exhibition centre, which had been turned into a huge pub for the occasion. Real ale drinkers had emerged from sheds all over the UK and were now eagerly sampling beery delights. Beer is obviously a great boost to the spirits, if not the figure - judging by the scores of expansive fizzing stomachs wobbling cheerfully about. S is very keen on beer. When we first went out he was a die-hard Stella Artois man but due to my indoctrination is now a convert to real ale. Although I'm ignorant about beer I was hoping that one of the 500 real ales on display might hit the spot and replace my fondness for fizz.

S insists that true appreciation only comes from taking very large gulps, but I reason that if a small sip tastes like bat's piss how can a larger mouthful taste any better?

No one could say I didn't try.

"Darling you're spoiling me again," I choked as he forced a pint of Jobbling's Swinging Gibber down my throat as I held my nose.

A mouthful of Guinness wasn't much better. I thought I might get it down if I made a black velvet, but this was vetoed as being a ridiculous waste of Guinness. Although I haven't yet acquired a taste for beer, I've found a use for it. It makes a great hair rinse resulting in the most lustrous follicles you could hope for - if you don't mind smelling a bit.

www.camra.org.uk; 01727-867 201

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas