RECENTLY the more beery-minded of you may have seen comments in the national press that CAMRA, the champions for real ale, are getting a taste for lager and craft ale! As usual grains of truth have been half-baked to turn into Bread Mountains of myth – at least from your local branch’s perspective.

CAMRA has always stated that real ale is the pinnacle of the brewer’s craft, and even managed to define it with an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary as “cask-conditioned beer that is served traditionally, without additional gas pressure”.

When CAMRA was formed back in the 70s that tradition was under attack from the original keg beer brewers who sought to remove hand-pumps, install gas lines and change the face of the traditional British pub.

Thankfully CAMRA managed to halt that change, and today you will rarely find a good hostelry without a hand-pumped “real ale” of some sort gracing the bar.

We also actively campaign to help local pubs, nationally supporting motions in Parliament for cutting tax burdens and business rates and locally to ensure good pubs are protected from change of use applications to turn them into supermarkets. We support real cider and perry (rather than keg cider) producers and have a sister organisation APPLE to help achieve that aim.

We think, as unpaid volunteers, that is probably quite enough for the Campaign for Real Ale to do, although there are others who now want us to embrace a wider range of “quality” beer styles, including keg and craft.

At our beer festival next week which is being held at Ermysted’s Grammar School, Skipton, between April 12 and 14, you will find 75-plus real ales – REAL by our current definition – served under cooling, either from the cask, or on hand-pump.

They come from brewers from Orkney to Somerset, Suffolk to Wales, the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland, and of course Keighley. There are beers with flavours of Kaffir lime; orange wheat; ginger ales and banoffee porters. We have local brewers’ beers with tastes of tequila, chocolate and blood oranges – and yes even a real lager!

Visit for opening times and admission prices.