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This Year's Beer.

by Helen Sun Jul 7th, 2013 at 03:46:54 PM EST

I had never thought of the real ale brewing industry having fashions, but looking back it's quite obvious that they do.

Not just the industrial fizz generated novelties more driven by corporate bottom lines and the availability of tax deductible advertising revenues. No, brewers themselves seek novelty as much as the public, so what is the popular drink one year declines as the public taste simply tires of the "same old same old".

I recently attended a beer festival which claimed to have representatives from every brewery in London. It was interesting, these are mostly new breweries with brewers highly influenced by the American trend of sharply delineated flavours. And, more than most, are constantly seeking the new on-trend beers. So, this was the place to be to see where we are this year.

We seem (thankfully) to have mostly moved on from last year's yellow tasteless beer-with-hops that plagued us last year. The new sensation are Red ales, ie brewed with amber and copper malts, as well as lots of hops. There were plenty of examples of these amongst the beers on offer. The flavours are just so much more interesting. Indeed, people are already moving on , Five Points came up with a twist of adding rye to the malt but they seem to have dropped the beer for some reason. I was due to go to the brewery today and would have taken the opportunity to complain, but circumstances dictated I couldn't go.

There's some great beer being brewed in London right now. It makes a lot of other breweries around the country seem pedestrian and not quite with it. There seems to be a new generation of brewers coming through who areboth more knowledgeable and more experimental than the brewers who started up even as recently as a decade ago.

It's a shame that so many of the pubs that stock real ale don't seem to know how to look after it properly. It's the only point at which I have sympathy with the craft brewers who want to produce keg (filtered and pastuerised) beer, but it's just a shame that landlords can't present that properly either.

I wonder if the well-established products--like Bass or Guinness over there or Coors or Yuengling Lager over here--use the same recipes and have the same characteristics as they did decades ago. That would argue that there is a market for a good product even as fads come and go...

by asdf on Sun Jul 7th, 2013 at 06:16:42 PM EST
I think it's unlikely that they use the same recipe, accountants do tend to cause cost shrinkage, which has impacts on the quality of the product.

Bass used to use the union system of brewing, which created a consistent high quality product. But the bean counters didn't like it. However, the change destroyed the beer, which had previously been regarded as one of the best beers in the world with considerable market penetration. Now, I have no idea of any pub which sells it.

Most mass brewers will reduce malt content, especially of the more expensive malts and substitute rice, sugar and caramel where they can get away with it.

In this, the US brewers are more guilty. The freezing temperatures US consumers have been trained to expect beers to be served allows them to get away with considerable abuses of the quality process. Cold beer disguises all of that. The recent moves by Guinness to promote freezing cold dispense suggests they too are degrading their product.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 8th, 2013 at 02:37:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jul 23rd, 2013 at 09:47:09 AM EST
That reminds me.

A Swedish beer producer did a series of commercials in the early 90ies warning about the dangers of ful-öl, ugly beer. Of course the purpose was to sell their own without additives.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jul 24th, 2013 at 02:29:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, wouldn't touch most of those. Corn is just cheap sugar to turn into alcohol without creating flavour

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jul 25th, 2013 at 03:56:15 PM EST
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