Trans-Atlantic Beer Tasting Simul-Post

adnams.jpgOr, “Sadly, we don’t know Mr Bean”.

Last week, we had a pint with Wilson of Brewvana fame. We were several thousand miles apart; he was drinking at lunchtime, we’d just got home from work; and the banter was by email. It kind of worked.

We’d agreed which beers we were going to drink so that we could compare, based on the UK beers Wilson could get in Iowa, and which American beers we could get in London. Somewhat ironically, he found it easier to get hold of Adnams Bitter than we did. So the final line-up was Adnams Broadside and Anchor Porter. Here’s how it went from Wilson’s point of view, and here’s how it went from ours:

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All I want for Christmas is…

pie.jpgI’ve been a good person this year. I’ve supported and promoted pubs and shops selling good beer, I’ve recommended beautiful microbrews to people who might not otherwise have drunk them, and I even got round to joining CAMRA.

I don’t really want much for Christmas, aside from the odd nice beer, and peace and goodwill to all men, but here’s my fantasy Christmas wishlist:

  1. The hop and grain harvests to be full and plentiful this year. I don’t think the smoking ban will kill pubs, but £4 a pint might.
  2. UK brewers to do more porters and stouts year round and less summer ales. Oh, and pubs to stock them. I find it strange that even in really good “real-ale” pubs you rarely find a stout that isn’t Guinness.
  3. My local supermarket to change the beer selection more than once every couple of years.
  4. Pubs that don’t want to do good cask ale to discover the wonders of bottle-conditioned beers.
  5. A home-brew shop that gets round to processing your order perhaps the day after you made it, rather than waiting three days before phoning you to say they don’t have the stuff. Thus making you miss your brewing schedule.
  6. The BBC to commission and show a beer appreciation programme. Or any channel really. Get Oz Clarke to team up with some beer writers and see what happens.
  7. CAMRA to stop wasting my subs money on the campaign for a full pint and focus more on the quality of said pint, i.e. perhaps visit a few more of these allegedly good pubs in the Good Pub Guide? See superb rant by Pete Brown on this a few months back, one of my favourite blog posts of the year.
  8. Our first-born lager to work.
  9. To discover that the wild yeasts in the Lea Valley are capable of spontaneously fermenting a tasty beer, thus starting a craze for London lambics.
  10. All the fabulous pubs, breweries and beer shops we’ve mentioned (and many more we haven’t had a chance to) to have a productive and profitable new year. Cheers!