Alex Massie

First CAMRA takes Manhattan?

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This New York Times piece by Eric Asimov has, for British readers, a certain charm. It's rather like seeing the world through alien eyes. My what strange yet wondrous habits you quaintly old-fashioned humans have:

I WAS sitting at a noisy bar on a beautiful fall afternoon, watching the bartender work, and she was indeed working.

She pulled down on the tap, then pushed back, pulled down and pushed up, in rhythmic repetition like a farmhand at a well. The ale poured slowly into a mug, at first all foam, then turning translucent before suddenly clarifying into a brilliant suds-topped amber.

I touched the faceted glass, cool, but not cold. A floral-citrus aroma rose up, and as I took my first sip I marveled at how soft and delicate the carbonation was, the bubbles giving the flavors lift and energy without aggression.

This was beer the really old-fashioned way.

Yes, he's just had a proper pint of beer. And in New York City to boot. Apparently there are now a few bars in the city that can be trusted to look after cask-conditioned ale without ruining it and, just as usefully, breweries keen to supply them with real ale. Another small step for civilisation.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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