We continue to watch with interest, if not burning enthusiasm, the emergence of unfined beer in the UK, accompanied by a discussion about British drinkers’ willingness to accept haziness.
We were reminded by a distinctly soupy pint of St Austell Tribute in a pub the other day that there is a distinction between ‘wholesome’ haze intended by the brewer and the kind of cloudiness, presented without apology, that ought to ring alarm bells — a sure sign of a careless publican.
People might come to accept hazy beer but how can they tell good haze from bad cloudiness? That’s a whole other level of consumer education.
At a pub beer festival recently we were served a pint that, by the time we’d sat down, was completely flat. We drank it anyway and, you know what? It tasted fine. We’re big fans of a head on our beer but this did set us wondering: why?
We don’t expect a head on other beverages like wine or scrumpy cider, and a mirror-like surface is almost a mark of quality in a well-aged barley wine or Belgian lambic beer.
After the recent mania for unfined beer, how long before someone markets a deliberately flat one? The accidentally flat beer we drank tasted sweeter and more cloying than it would have done with some condition but that’s nothing for which a brewer couldn’t compensate in formulating the recipe.