Category Archives: Generalisations about beer culture

Ten Beers to Try Before You Die!

The one you drink straight from the bottle, straight from the fridge, after work on a hot day.

The one a relative or friend buys you as a token of repressed but deeply-felt affection.

The one you have with breakfast at a grotty railway station or airport bar before embarking on an adventure.

The one that you don’t really want at the end of a night but drink anyway because you’re having too much fun to leave.

The one you drink on Sunday afternoon in front of the fire with a gale blowing outside, during a power cut.

The one you order to annoy a snooty waiter in a restaurant where they really think you ought to be drinking wine.

The one you have at lunchtime on a week day, while reading the paper, on a day off.

The one that tastes especially good about 72 hours after a terrible hangover.

The one you finally manage to open with your front door key after 15 minutes, having forgotten to bring a bottle opener.

The one you’re right in the middle of enjoying when you die.

We wrote this on our Facebook page back in 2013 but wanted to give it a more permanent home here on the blog.

Do We Want Beer Architects?

Last week’s article in the Wall Street Journal about conflict between traditional brewers and ‘beer architects’ in Belgium appalled someone we follow on Twitter:

Now, we’re not sure if the world needs beer architects, or if the term is one we’d like to see stick, but it’s an interesting way of framing the discussion.

Until fairly recently, there were no architects — only builders, and, later, master builders. Then came people like Christopher Wren — intelligent to the point of genius, and bred to practice good taste at a pitch most humans can’t detect — who made a living conceiving of buildings or estates; sketching them; modelling them… and then contracting someone else to get their hands dirty in the construction.

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British Beer in the Next Year

We’re planning a longform ‘state of play 2014-15′ supplement to Brew Britannia for the summer but, in the meantime, here are some brief thoughts on what the next year might hold.

1. Larger, better-established family/regional breweries, anxious over their status in relation to ‘craft beer’, will dabble in once-obscure areas of the Jacksonian style framework:

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Bars That Brew, Brewers With Bars

When we were in the research phase of Brew Britannia during 2013 we thought we observed a nascent trend: the cutting out of middle men.

A few years ago, there was a fairly cosy relationship between brewers, bar owners and distributors serving a nascent  ‘craft beer’ (definition 2) market, each taking a slice of the cost of a third of IPA.

But brewers seem often to feel frustrated at the fact that their reputation so often relies on the care with which their product is presented by third parties — assuming, of course, that they can even get any pubs or bars to stock their beer. The building of a tap room or the acquisition of a tied pub is an obvious solution to these problems.

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Hipster School of Thought, No?

When BrewDog’s Sarah Warman asked the question above in relation to hype, it got us thinking, because the hipster school of thought (insofar as it really exists) is a slippery beast.

The term ‘hipster’ was invented in the 1940s but has really gained popularity in the last decade as it has come to encapsulate a certain attitude to culture and fashion, as expressed in this example of the ‘hipster barista’ internet meme:

Hipsters to change a lightbulb barista meme.

Continue reading Hipster School of Thought, No?