Real ale pubs ‘missing a trick’ by not providing tasting notes

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Beer

Keeping it real: Cask Ale now appeals to a broad range of drinkers; male and female, young and old
Keeping it real: Cask Ale now appeals to a broad range of drinkers; male and female, young and old
With the 2014 Cask Report revealing that real ale is now outperforming the beer market, new research has found that licensees can still do more to encourage younger drinkers to try the drink, simply by providing tasting notes on the bar. 

Cyclops Beer, which provides tasting notes of its own, carried out the research over the summer, including a survey of drinkers who hadn’t tried real ale.

Twenty-six per cent of all drinkers would welcome tasting notes as a way of trying real ale, with 37 per cent of those aged 18-34 agreeing. Occasional real ale drinkers would also find it useful with 71 per cent claiming tasting notes would encourage them to try different ales.

Tony Jerome, head of marketing for Camra and a founding member of Cyclops Beer, said: “A number of breweries are clearly missing an opportunity to sell more real ale. We know that many drinkers are put off by not knowing what beer tastes like and Cyclops Beer tasting notes addresses this problem by providing clear descriptions which can be displayed at the point of purchase.

“Cyclops Beer descriptions are easy to understand and should be used more widely, not just on websites but on the bar where drinkers are sometimes faced with a baffling decision about what to choose.”

Brewing up a storm

Cask-conditioned beer, also referred to as real ale, is served from a cask without additional nitrogen or dioxide pressure. The Cask Report, released last month, found that 63 per cent of licensees say the drink is beginning to attract younger customers into their pub and a similar number say that more women are drinking it.

The number of breweries producing real ale is dually increasing, with 187 starting brewing over the last 12 months

“There has been a sea-change in attitudes towards cask ale over the past few years,” said the Report’s author Pete Brown. “This explains why it’s now out-performing the beer market by 6.8 per cent.

Cyclops Beer is helping some of the new real ale drinkers to find their way around the myriad of tastes and styles on offer. The organisation tests real ales submitted by breweries and produces tasting notes and indicators of bitterness and sweetness and ABV to help drinkers make informed decisions about real ales. To date ,1563 beers have been accredited by Cyclops Beer.

Cask Ale Week, which ran from 27 September to 6 October, saw a range of activities taking place from master classes in ale tasting to beer quizzes, meet the brewer evenings, beer festivals, sampling and free pint offers. The theme for the Week was ‘The Great Big Taste Challenge’. For more information, visit www.caskaleweek.co.uk​. 

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