Cask Ale: As British as the Royal Family

Britain’s national drink is helping keep pubs alive. Written by Pete Brown for The Independent

Italian food. French wine. British beer and pubs. Our national icons resonate deeply not just because they’re things we’re good at, but also because they reflect our national characteristics. To eat like an Italian is to treat great food with the gusto and relish it deserves. A Margaux reflects centuries of sophistication and refinement. And a pint of ale in a pub… well, it’s a bit more complicated.

Pubs are different from the bars the rest of the world has to make do with. They’re more convivial, more homely, diverse, eccentric, understated and contradictory. They can be a bit intimidating on a first encounter, but get to know them and you’ll never want to leave. Just like the average Brit, really.

That’s why there has never been a successful British soap without a pub at its centre. After the Royal Family, the traditional British pub is the first thing foreign tourists want to see when they come to Britain. And when they’re there, they want to drink a traditional British beer.

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