A help or a hindrance?

Reads 4178 • Replies 93 • Started Friday, October 12, 2012 8:06:27 AM CT

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SaintMatty
beers 7603 º places 353 º 08:06 Fri 10/12/2012

I have lived abroad for 5 years now and whilst the beer scene in Britain seems to have moved on massively in that time, I get the impression that it is being held back in some ways too. It’s too long to paste here, but if you want to read my views on it, you’re welcome to do so here:

http://pilgrimandprogress.net/2012/10/12/tradition-a-help-or-a-hindrance-2/

 
chriso
beers 7536 º places 721 º 08:21 Fri 10/12/2012

It’s a bit of double edged sword really. It’s understandable that those countries that did not have much of "craft" brewing scene until recently will cast the net wide in seeking inspiration. But where there is a longer tradition, I would not necessarily want to see that jettisoned to make way for "international" styles. I don’t really go to Germany or Belgium to seek out US-style IPA clones, for example. On the other hand, closer to home, I’m very appreciative of those brewers who look further than trad style UK bitters and the like. However, visitors to the UK, from the US say, may be more interested in more traditional brews rather than those from brewers who ape the styles they can get easily at home, and not always that successfully.

 
SilkTork
beers 5922 º places 95 º 08:34 Fri 10/12/2012

I haven’t read the link, but I agree with Chriso’s comment.

 
cgarvieuk
beers 26365 º places 406 º 08:39 Fri 10/12/2012

I think it depends if you think the New wave of beers is better than the traditional. I dont.


Yeah weve been slower taking off than Denmark etc. But we still have our well established cask market on top.

With Time the New wave will expand, and we will have the best of both worlds.

 
SaintMatty
beers 7603 º places 353 º 08:50 Fri 10/12/2012

Originally posted by chriso
It’s a bit of double edged sword really. It’s understandable that those countries that did not have much of "craft" brewing scene until recently will cast the net wide in seeking inspiration. But where there is a longer tradition, I would not necessarily want to see that jettisoned to make way for "international" styles. I don’t really go to Germany or Belgium to seek out US-style IPA clones, for example. On the other hand, closer to home, I’m very appreciative of those brewers who look further than trad style UK bitters and the like. However, visitors to the UK, from the US say, may be more interested in more traditional brews rather than those from brewers who ape the styles they can get easily at home, and not always that successfully.


I agree with you, Chris. I think it’s great that some countries (notably in eastern Europe) do not yet produce beers with English or American hops. I would hate for the market to be flooded with US-style IPA clones.

Do you think that a more general beer consumers’ group will ever get off the ground? I know it has been discussed on here before, but sometimes I think CAMRA needs a bit of competition.

 
EdKing
beers 2663 º places 199 º 11:23 Fri 10/12/2012

Chris is pretty much on the money. I’m looking forward to visiting Belgian to try traditional beers. I’m glad I can experience both in this country. I still believe that when it’s served correctly and fresh you just cannot beat cask conditioned ale. That said the rise of the new countries and modern beer styles has totally re-invigorated the beer scene and made beer exciting for young people and women as well. The Kernel is an example of a ’new’ brewery that combines both. 19th century stout recipes alongside American pales and IPAs. I think in 10 years time there will be far fewer dull brown bitters out there.

 
EdKing
beers 2663 º places 199 º 11:27 Fri 10/12/2012

Nice blog by the way. Best of luck with it.

 
harrisoni
beers 19535 º places 38 º 11:53 Fri 10/12/2012

Hi, I read your blog and there was this bit that seemed to me to stand out

"but it saddens me to think that many of the fantastic beers produced by the new wave of British breweries, but who do not produce what is defined as real ale, are unable to sell their beers at CAMRA beer festivals and introduce their beers to a whole new audience"

Which of the new wave of British breweries don’t produce a cask ale? BrewDog? Well, that is their decision. Kernel? I’ve had Kernel on cask at CAMRA festivals. Which other breweries who make fantastic beers in the UK don’t do a cask? "many of the fantastic beers"? sorry, evidence just suggests your opinion is incorrect.

I’m sorry, but there seems to be a myth that all great new breweries in the UK produce their beers in keg or keykeg only. No. This is evidently not true.

There is also a myth that new wave beers are better on keykeg/keg. I’ve had several side by side cask vs keg. Cask won every time. And not by a bit, by quite a lot.

I am an active member of CAMRA, but also like new styles of beers and innovation. I like tradition and the new. I don’t think it’s an either/or choice.

Unlike Belgium and Germany I think the UK is in a fantastic position being able to adapt and learn and combine both tradition and the new.

Let’s not talk ourselves down eh? There is choice for everyone at the moment and long may it continue.

 
cgarvieuk
beers 26365 º places 406 º 11:58 Fri 10/12/2012

Originally posted by harrisoni
I’m sorry, but there seems to be a myth that all great new breweries in the UK produce their beers in keg or keykeg only. No. This is evidently not true.

There is also a myth that new wave beers are better on keykeg/keg. I’ve had several side by side cask vs keg. Cask won every time. And not by a bit, by quite a lot.


This was my Biggest problem with IndyManBeerCon.

All the Brewers were stood by stands that had there KEG beer but all there cask were on a Generic Bar with None of the Brewers beside there beer on Cask.

That and the Layout of the Program made the whole even look like it was designed to make Keg beer looks cool hip and funky and cask look just run of the mill and part of the Crowd.


 
harrisoni
beers 19535 º places 38 º 12:14 Fri 10/12/2012

As for the idea that UK people won’t drink anything over 5%, then why is it that Sainsbury’s Beer Hunt 2012 was won by JW Lees Manchester Star at 7.3% and Batemans Mocha at 6%? Both traditional brewers, both brought out something special to be listed in over 300 stores nationally.

I’m not having a personal attack, I just think that there are many changes that have happened in the UK over the past 5 years, especially in the past 2-3 years that shows that the UK beer scene is alive and well and doing well. One of the best and most respected of the new breweries in Kent, The Foundry in Canterbury (founded June 2011) is loved by CAMRA and beer geeks in equal amount. You can have anything from excellently made bitter and golden ale and porter to belgian yeast hoppy beers, barrel aged scotch ale, doppelbock, helles, raspberry beer, a fantastic dunkel that is so much better on cask than on keg.

So for me it’s not either/or for tradition nor do I think or find that tradition is a hindrance either. For me it is a mix. I love drinking in the traditional front room atmosphere of a micropub in Kent but love it even more when it’s Oakham Citra I’m drinking. You can do both at The Butchers Arms in Kent in the middle of traditional English hop country.

 
SaintMatty
beers 7603 º places 353 º 12:49 Fri 10/12/2012

Originally posted by harrisoni
As for the idea that UK people won’t drink anything over 5%, then why is it that Sainsbury’s Beer Hunt 2012 was won by JW Lees Manchester Star at 7.3% and Batemans Mocha at 6%? Both traditional brewers, both brought out something special to be listed in over 300 stores nationally.

I’m not having a personal attack, I just think that there are many changes that have happened in the UK over the past 5 years, especially in the past 2-3 years that shows that the UK beer scene is alive and well and doing well. One of the best and most respected of the new breweries in Kent, The Foundry in Canterbury (founded June 2011) is loved by CAMRA and beer geeks in equal amount. You can have anything from excellently made bitter and golden ale and porter to belgian yeast hoppy beers, barrel aged scotch ale, doppelbock, helles, raspberry beer, a fantastic dunkel that is so much better on cask than on keg.

So for me it’s not either/or for tradition nor do I think or find that tradition is a hindrance either. For me it is a mix. I love drinking in the traditional front room atmosphere of a micropub in Kent but love it even more when it’s Oakham Citra I’m drinking. You can do both at The Butchers Arms in Kent in the middle of traditional English hop country.


I am talking about some breweries who only produce certain beers in keg, and not in cask form, as well as some (admittedly not many) who have abandoned cask altogether. I was talking to the brewer from Summer Wine recently and he told me that they hardly produce any cask beer anymore.

Also, I think that as you often frequent some of the many fantastic pubs that are now in London, you have been slightly spoilt in the way that you see such a diverse range of beers on offer, both in terms of strengths and styles.

Where I am from (Southampton), many of the publicans are reluctant to have many (or even any) beers above 5%. I have found this out from talking to the publicans as well as local brewers. Perhaps it’s different in other parts of the country, perhaps it’s the same. I am merely talking about my experiences in the soft south!

I don’t think the same problems apply to bottled beers which is why perhaps you see some more experimental brews in shops, than in pubs, at least in Southampton!

I am also talking from the perspective of an English guy living in a foreign country. I am used to hearing people dismiss British beer as being boring, dull and old-fashioned and was trying to think about why. Of course I know that there’s great British beer out there, both from the ’new wave’, and the more established brewer, in fact I am keen to promote however I can.

I am delighted to see that you can now buy beers from Moor, Summer Wine, Redchurch, Thornbridge, Buxton and Camden Town in Sweden, as well as beers from Fuller’s, Shepherd Neame and the old guard. I think this shows the diversity of beer available in the UK and I am proud of that.