This morning another conversation about the price of craft beer broke out on Twitter, as it does every three months or so.
This time the prompt was an article by Will Hawkes for the Guardian on progressive breweries and inclusiveness:
Women are increasingly taking the responsibility for shaping the beer world. Writer Melissa Cole and brewer Jaega Wise have driven the campaign against using sexualised images of women in beer marketing.… There’s [also] a growing sense that the beer world needs to make it easier for customers to drink its products. Leading the way is Ride Brewing Company in Glasgow, where the taproom is fully accessible to people with disabilities. Head brewer Dave Lannigan says his experiences have influenced this stance. “I am officially disabled through loss of hearing, so have personal experience of being excluded,” he says. “We are just keen to make a difference, no matter how small.”
(Someone did great work on the headline for that story, by the way.)
This prompted food writer Tony Naylor to Tweet the following:
We think that’s quite an interesting, provocative suggestion and, indeed, made a similar one ourselves in 2012. He’s certainly not saying all beer should be £3 a pint, or that £5 pints should be banned, or are a great evil – just that some deliberate, disruptive gesture on price might shake things up a bit.
But whether it’s a practical suggestion or not it did make us think of something beer enthusiasts and commentators could be doing more often: making the effort to highlight good value beers.
Big, rare, strange craft beers naturally attract a lot of coverage because they’re different and come with some sort of story, but that can add up to a sense that (to borrow CAMRA’s controversial phrase) they are ‘the pinnacle of the brewer’s art’ and that if you’re drinking anything else, you’re slumming it. Why bother? Really, you should sell an organ or two, or skip your lunchtime avocado feast to cover the cost of the upgrade. (Remember, nobody has any money these days.)
So, instead of moaning about expensive pints – or at least as well as doing that – make a point of flagging great ones you’ve found at £3 a pint or £2 a can.
It doesn’t have to be an essay – just a Facebook post, Tweet or passing mention in a post on another topic. But essays are good too. Food critic Jay Rayner has just shared a piece defending his writing about expensive restaurants but one of the best things he’s ever written was about a Polish restaurant in Birmingham with main courses at under a tenner.
Of course nobody should pretend to like beers they don’t, or hold back from writing about expensive beers that really get them excited, but if there’s a readily available, affordable beer you really do enjoy, take a moment to tell the world, without apologies or caveats, and without expecting a medal for your bravery.