We expected the 500th anniversary of the German beer purity law, the Reinheitsgebot, to generate lots of coverage but we hadn’t expected it to be so testy.
It turns out that this has become another flashpoint in the battle between two vague, fuzzy-edged groups within the world of beer.
And the Campaign for Real Ale’s Revitalisation project (consultation closes on Saturday, by the way) seems to have caused a flare up in another stretch of the previously fairly calm demilitarised border area.
As we say, the edges are fuzzy, but it seems to be more or less the same groups bickering over clarity vs. haze, cask vs. keg, strong vs. session, boring vs. balanced, weird additives vs. malt, hipsters vs. squares, craft vs. ‘craft’, Simcoe vs. Fuggles, and so on.
The division feels weird to us — on both sides, more about attitudes, feelings, personalities, grudges and prejudices than anything concrete. It’s tribal, even almost religious.
Meanwhile, in the real world (as we Tweeted yesterday) Cascade hops and dark lager are still regarded as exotic, and we couldn’t buy a hazy beer in Penzance if we wanted to.