Nottingham CAMRA recently surveyed 102 pubs within their branch area. Pleasingly 98 of these sold real ale, and there were 178 different beers found.
The most commonly found beer though was not something local, or something from one of the biggest English brewers, but a beer all the way from Edinburgh in Scotland.
Yes Caledonian Deuchars IPA was found in 26 of those pubs visited. And herein probably lies the reason why this beer is not a patch on what it used to be. In 2002 Deuchars won Champion Beer Of Britain. At the time it was a lovely hoppy tasting beer with a nice fruity malty contrast and was wonderfully drinkable. Now the beer tastes like it has less hops and is sweeter than ever. It definitely wouldn't win any awards now and that's not simply because the competition has hottened up; it's because this beer has dumbed down.
I could blame it on the take over of Caledonian by Scottish & Newcastle, and I am sure I am not far from the truth, but it's such a shame when a beer becomes too big for its own boots.