An Enigmatic Beer

As a beer, we were pleasantly surprised by TED from Flat Cap. It smelled great — citrus hops leaping out of the glass — and tasted, we thought, not at all unlike Brooklyn Lager. (Which is odd given that it’s a pale ale, but we tastes what we tastes.) The carbonation is restrained, which we always appreciate, and, apart from a slight out-of-place burnt flavour in the first mouthfuls, there was nothing to fault. Like Brooklyn Lager, TED would be great to drink from the bottle at a party.

As a brand… well, we can see what they’re trying to do, but agree with most of Kristy McCready’s comments here. If we could change one thing, it would be shape and maybe size of the bottle: the standard UK 500ml ‘real ale’ bottle, combined with the flat cap imagery and the words ‘pale ale’ suggests an old-fashioned beer. A 330ml bottle, or something with a more unusual shape would cue us up for the more American-influenced, Brewdog-like product inside.

Or, to put that another way, people might not buy it because they think they’re going to get a boring brown bitter. (Hence pleasantly surprised in the opening paragraph above.)

The thing that really makes us uneasy, though, is the mystery of the manufacture, which has been prodded at and probed by Zak Avery and commenters here. We know Flat Cap don’t own a brewer; nor are they brewers using someone else’s kit. Could we call them ideas men? The label describes the beer as ‘craft brewed’, but by whom? Where? And to what extent did the Flat Cap chaps shape the recipe?

With so little clear information on the bottle — less than we get from Marks and Spencers on their own-brand beers — it might as well be a product of Integrated Bottling Solutions.

We know that Flat Cap are trying to address the question of transparency and look forward to seeing future versions of the packaging.

The chaps at Flat Cap were kind enough to send us a bottle of TED gratis, at no charge and for free. This probably did influence our opinion of it. What are we, robots?

11 thoughts on “An Enigmatic Beer”

  1. Pah. 330ml bottles are so Brewdog yesterday. At the rare American beer tasting I recently attended, all the bottles were 750ml.

    1. Lord, I hate 750 ml bottles. Hate hate hate.

      I paused for a minute there to see if I could think of anything more constructive or interesting to say on the subject.

      Er…

      I really hate 750 ml bottles.

  2. Really glad that you liked the beer! For us that really is the most important thing. Branding comments are taken on board and there will be some changes for the next brew. As you know we have tried to be as open as possible and answer any questions posed. This beer was created by Paul Buttrick and brewed at the Salisbury Brewery – we would have loved to put this on the label but it was the brewery who were against it for our first brew, but have agreed more information next time. Ken and I are not brewers but Paul most definitely is and he’s a permanent part of Flat Cap Beers – our goal was to produce top notch beers wherever we can until we can build our own brewery and we are passionate about doing so!
    Steve’s research has unearthed our present accountants office and somehow the office for an accountant I used 10 years ago which conveniently was next to the Hole in the Wall pub!
    Please anyone get in touch if you’d like any more info.
    andy@flatcapbeers.com

  3. I think you’ll find the correct thing to say about receiving free beer is that it hasn’t influence you, and in fact you did once not like a free beer. It’s what all the pros say.

    1. Come to think of it, I’ve only ever had beer that I’ve had to pay for in 750 ml bottles. Free beer in a 750 ml bottle might be much more agreeable. It’d be interesting to find out.

  4. Having read this and other articles on Flat Cap, I’m a little concerned. Andy has said it all above really. Not brewers, no brewery but marketing and selling beer. To me that makes this a marketing and distribution company. No different to tesco or morrisons own brand beers, but certainly more misleading. But then again there is the involvement of Paul. I like what appear to me to beer carefully selected words around Paul’s involvement with Flat Cap. Having looked Paul up (www.beerdimensions.com) it appears he’s a contract brewer employed to make a recipe for Flat Cap and would do the same for anyone, and probably does. Andy please tell me if I’m wrong in my assumptions.
    Sorry I just don’t like this model. To me a brewery is built around a brewer, and their ideas about how to make the beer world a better place. Don’t really see why we need another brand as that is all this is.
    On a positive note though, I do like the branding.

    1. Thanks for your comments and as i said we’re just trying to be up front. Interesting that we are being compared to a supermarket own brand as most of these are not unique recipes but I may be wrong – I often am! Paul is a consultant but also a shareholder in Flat Cap and was vital to make our beer as good as it is. It seems to me very much a UK issue and I am sure that, for instance, the Brooklyn Brewery were not criticised so much when they started and their setup was pretty similar!
      I have said it on many blogs we are just trying to get as good a beer as we can to the beer drinker out there and personally I think having a lot of chioce/variety is a good thing!
      Cheers
      Andy
      PS Very glad that you like the branding as thats taken a battering too!!

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