Is it that much of an Event? I mean, there were lots of different things going on, but it doesn't feel like there's an Event. You know, some focal point, something that the week builds to, something that really tells people who are participating and watching, that we're celebrating something worthwhile.
I was thinking back to last year. I remember that 'launch' at the Betjeman Arms - Oz Clarke pulling a pint for Melanie Sykes to the accompaniment of the chirruping of Looney Tunes cartoon crickets. I know it's all a new thing, but I wondered last year, why in Spring? Why not fold it into the real celebration of our beer culture - GBBF?
Reading the blogosphere last August, there was a palpable feeling that something exciting was happening at Earls Court. I was at the early part of the Trade Session, and I can't ever recall seeing so many people smiling and contributing to a hugely upbeat atmosphere. That's the beauty of a meeting-place and marketplace for cask. I didn't get that sense last year for Cask Ale Week, and it was missing again this time.
I went out for a few beers on Wednesday - hit Cask (becoming a favourite), had a few at The Rake. But, there was no branding, no advertising to suggest this week was any different to any other. I enjoyed my beer - I always do. But I wasn't offering any thoughts to The Week as I imbibed.
I don't know if Cask Ale Week will prove to have legs. Seems to me it offers a period for sober reflection about all the challenges facing the beer we like and the places we drink it, among the Greene King 'mobile pubs' and 'Ale-Team' hilarity. Me? I can't wait for GBBF...