News, Nuggets & Longreads 2 Jan 2016

The Victoria, Paddington.

Here’s what we’ve been reading and thinking on in the last week from around the beer blogs and beyond.

→ We first became aware of the Black Coun­try Ale Tairsters when we saw their card pinned to the wall at the Star Inn; now, the BBC has their sto­ry as they near 300,000 miles on their ongo­ing epic pub crawl.

Illustration: home brewing hydrometer.

POINT: There is too much bad beer being pro­duced by so-called craft brew­eries who don’t real­ly know what they’re doing, says Michael Agnew for The Growler mag­a­zine (via @StanHieronymus):

Allow me to be clear about some­thing: When I say bad beer, I’m not talk­ing about beer that I don’t like… I’m talk­ing about beer with real, quan­tifi­able flaws. I mean seri­ous­ly under-atten­u­at­ed beers that taste like wort. Diacetyl-laden but­ter bombs. Flat-tast­ing beers with mut­ed fla­vors from using the wrong brew­ing water. Sour beers that taste like sweaty vine­gar, and sour beers that weren’t meant to be sour. Med­i­c­i­nal-tast­ing Bel­gians. The unbal­anced, train wreck, kitchen-sink beers with so much stuff that you can’t dis­cern one fla­vor from anoth­er.

COUNTERPOINT: No there isn’t, says Steve ‘The Pour Fool’ Body, and, even if there’s some, it’s all part of the jour­ney:

[New] craft brew­eries open and make the usu­al rook­ie mis­takes: their ambi­tions out­run their skills, their bank account leaves them short of equip­ment and mate­ri­als, they real­ly do NOT under­stand the science/art fris­son that’s at the heart of brew­ing beer, they have a hard time learn­ing their equip­ment and batch scal­ing, they’re over­whelmed by ear­ly suc­cess and try to rush beers out before they’re ready… or they’re just run by jug­heads whose sole inter­est in craft brew­ing is look­ing cool and using up some dis­pos­able income. Of those groups, it’s real­ly only the last one that doesn’t promise to get bet­ter.

Watney's Red -- detail from beer mat.

→ Alec Lath­am has been pon­der­ing his rela­tion­ship with the two beer ‘rev­o­lu­tions’ of the last 50 years:

Towards the end of 2015 I turned 38 and it gave me pause to think about my vin­tage… What a thing to have been there in the 1970s. Young swag­ger­ing drinkers of cask beer who refused to let Britain’s unique beer tra­di­tion die out. They won. But what a thing to be young and a brew­er now. A gourmet of hops and ingre­di­ents from across the plan­et and a rail­way arch to rock your pro­fes­sion under, meet your fans and raise the pro­file of beer.

→ On a relat­ed note, BBC busi­ness cor­re­spon­dent Peter Day has made a pro­gramme reflect­ing on the nature of British craft beer. You can lis­ten to the show via the BBC’s pod­cast page or read a sum­ma­ry of his argu­ment here:

To find out why it hap­pened here you prob­a­bly have to go back 50 years, back to anoth­er era of local brews and brew­eries… In reac­tion to the grow­ing uni­for­mi­ty of beer sold in Britain, a group of enthu­si­as­tic drinkers got togeth­er in 1971 to form Cam­ra, the Cam­paign for Real Ale. And this small group of enthu­si­asts had enor­mous impact.

→ And final­ly, here’s a qui­et­ly pro­vok­ing thought…

One thought on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 2 Jan 2016”

  1. noth­ing bet­ter than peo­ple who ini­tial­ly admit that all taste is com­plete­ly sub­jec­tive and as such there is no such things as objec­tive­ly good and objec­tive­ly bad beer… AND THEN go onto to make sweep­ing val­ue judge­ments about beer and claim they’re being entire­ly objec­tive.

    Maybe some peo­ple LIKE beer that tastes like wort and diacetyl and sweaty vine­gar.

Comments are closed.