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

    1. research” was no more than googling the name! I’m just nose real­ly 😛

      Thanks for the info Andy

  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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