Just returned from a trip to the UK. Again pondering why one can stumble into any reasonable pub more or less and get a pint of cask-conditioned ale that soothes the soul, whereas you can travel from New York, to Seattle, to LA and across back through Houston to Tampa and still not find a cask ale that a) will not possibly kill you (read my earlier thesis US Brewmasters as failed chemists) and b) you'd want to drink even a pint of.
The problem goes back to the loss of Sherlock's Home, Minnetonka Minnesota. They are the only place I have come across (in the US) with drinkable (make that, unbelievably excellent) real cask-conditioned ale.
I am not that fussy. At an English pub I will run through the menu of real ales. But what I find in the US is that people seem aroused and satisfied by the weird and wonderful creations on offer, but somehow (apart from the alcohol) miss the obvious fact that the stuff is cloudy, gunky, and tastes like water from a washing machine just unloaded from a particularly heavy load of soiled Bolivian unicyclists' jockstraps.
I've found something half decent in Toronto. But south of the border I've travelled cities galore (NY, Detroit, Seattle [too many bloody hills to make the awful beers found worthwhile at all], Houston etc. etc. etc.) and no good. If you knew Sherlock's Home you surely know what I am talking about. Keg Tetley's or Boddingtons in a can is not going to do it. Well-kept (even bog-standard) Guinness draught can give a distant glimmer of what I am talking about, but that is about all.
Please do not write telling me I am crazy. I really think it was Sherlock's or nothing. No one is doing it right. At least in terms of purveying a product that would not start a street riot in the United Kingdom. I have put in the work. I have worn out shoes. I have drunk things that should be labelled with a government health warning all in the name of this research.
But if you knew Sherlock's, and know a place that compares [Great Waters in St Paul is one place I have not made it to] PLEASE LET ME THE HELL KNOW. Thanks a lot.
An amusing aside. On the trip to the UK I noticed that many pubs had dual Guinness Draught keg spigots. One normal and one "Extra Cold" (with icy blue trim). Knowing the answer already I asked a barmaid, so do people like the Ice Cold one? "Oh yes, much more popular." Figures. A beer that's so cold you can't taste its subtle flavors at all is much more popular than even the regularly over-chilled Guinness Draught.
No wonder it's a problem finding 54F bitter.