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.