Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year Post; some random thoughts

When you first start getting into beer, its all about the beer...

The beer, the label, the brewery, what it's like, how it's so individual. Picking out ones you haven't tried in a pub, supermarket, farm shop or off licence. Oh, I haven't tried this one, but then the book you got last Christmas tells you what beer style the beer is, about the brewer and what hop varieties they used. Where this style of beer originated from and how the beer got it's name.

I remember it was Michael Jackson beer hunter who once compared the understanding of British beer to sex, meaning the more you know about it the better it becomes. True to a certain extent loads of British beers are instantly lovable.

The road to beer geekism can be complex and revealing. Some beers you hated years back can become favourites. Other beers can raise your expectation of beer entirely. But read more books, meet more beer enthusiasts, try more beer and food pairings. Beer and cheese, beer and chocolate, beer and sausages and every ones favourite, beer and more beer.

Life is like a giant pint of beer... Don't ask me why, it just is.

Then after studying brewing at University and a whole bunch of homebrews things get even more involved. Maybe I over attenuated that last batch, or what if I changed the hop additions in the next? Now I know why that bottle of Brew Dog Punk IPA throws a haze too long in a really cold fridge. Why the flavours of naturally conditioned beer can change over time. Why cask ale is a more inconsistent product in pubs that don't really care much for it but just take it on because it's the way the markets going.

But at the end of the day real beer is about real people. The people who craft it, drink it, love it, and are inspired by it. To others beer might be just about getting hammered, refreshment just enhancing ones image of masculinity. But beer means different things to different people, which is a signature reason of
/hy the beer blogging world is so diverse. And why the beer blogosphere involves so much debate, camaraderie, disagreements and sometimes conflict.

Sometimes I think, maybe I should blog more about the issues affecting the brewing industry today, maybe it might get me a higher rank in Wikio. Probably not. But to me, making a point count often seems futile. No matter how much Pete Brown's argument tears apart the governments reasoning for tax hikes or the like, or how many bloggers fight the corner of the developing craft beer scene nobody, except other bloggers seems to take much notice. I could be wrong, there could be numerous MP's on the side of the beer enthusiast. But the way the brewing industry has segregated and evolved has ensured that the beer enthusiast is is part of a developing niche, but the CAMRA member recognised is represented. Luckily the two groups do cross over a lot, and for the new year, I would advise all UK beer bloggers to keep the faith in our developing craft brewing scene and take heed of Rob's beer quest's new year message...

So when the duty is due to rise,
and no one else seems to care,
and the government wants to be seen as responsible by pointing fingers.
alcohol concern!
Tax the abusers!
Above 7.5% is irresponsible!
Pubs are closing everywhere,
and every news story about alcohol abuse sports the same old picture of someone pulling a cask conditioned pint, 
extinction for the pub looms, only fond memories will remain,
The malt prices are going up, hop prices are going up
And all this time your 5 barrel plant is running at a loss,
Then when you tell people you like beer they only seem to associate you with the lager louts or old bearded CAMRA stereotype blokes.
It might not be as bad as it seems, it might be exaggerated,
but even so, just remember this video
And have a cracking new year!


The Hearty Goodfellow said...

Amen to that!

I'll be sure to raise aloft my next beer in honour of the 'bright side.'

I just hope don't spill some in the process...

Or drop the whole thing causing an awful mess...

Or contract a virulent new strain of the Ebola virus from the unwashed rim of the glass...

Oh how quickly the gloom can return!

Mark N said...

Aye, good points, well made. Hope 2011 is good to you and your brewery.

Ghost Drinker said...

Bring on the new year I say! The old saying is that when times are good the people will drink, and when the good times go bad..... the people will drink. I think we in the industry should be fine.

arn said...

good post, certainly identify with the first part.
Happy new year Rob

Rob said...

I perhaps didn't mean to come across quite so pessimistic but more to simply reflect on the past debates of the blogosphere. Happy new year to you all.