The Lake District Feature

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What's Real About Real Ale?

The English can be passionate about their drink, as the growing interest in real ale shows. It differs from other beers by the use of natural ingredients and the fact that it’s matured by fermentation in the barrel from which the ale is served. The process doesn't use carbon dioxide, so pure taste wins out over fizz.

The Directory of U.K. Real Ale Breweries (www.quaffale.org.uk) lists 34 operating real-ale breweries in Cumbria, of which the Coniston Brewing Company, Barngates Brewery (at the Drunken Duck Inn), and Hawkshead (in Staveley, between Kendal and Windermere) are three of the best. Most real ales are caramel in color and hoppy, malty, and slightly bitter to taste. A pint of ale is the usual quantity to be consumed, though a half is acceptable; you can also find it in bottles.

Most pubs in the Lake District offer some sort of local brew—the better ones take enormous pride in their careful tending of the beer, from barrel to glass. Interested in the subject, or just in the taste? Check out the website of the Campaign for Real Ale (www.camra.org.uk).

Updated: 2013-10-15

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