Everyone in the beer world has different perspectives, different agendas, and different reasons to engage. Brewers are going to have a different view to the drinker. Traditional cask drinkers will have a different view to the contemporary Craft Beer Drinker. Beer writers will also have their own agendas, which will be coloured by their own view of the beer world, combined with the reward they get for writing about beer.
You will know that I am not only a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers but also sit on the committee. I take this role quite seriously as I believe in the underpinning principles of The Guild; “To improve the standards of beer writing and to extend the public's knowledge of beer.”
I’ve known Adrian Tierney-Jones for some time. He’s a great bloke and has written quite a lot about beer in many areas. He’s won several awards with The Guild Annual Awards but most importantly to me does a sterling job as secretary of The Guild, if with a slightly understandable and endearingly grumpy approach sometimes.
We don’t always agree. Indeed, I occasionally get barbed and satirical emails from him when he feels I make some remark on twitter, or in my blog, that is at odds with his world view. Or indeed, when we exchange views as committee members via email. I think it is only likely that a beer writer, one who wants to be respected for his knowledge and impartial take on the beer scene, will disagree with me.
The classic discussion is the exchanges about craft beer. I like to align myself as a Craft Brewer. I think it is useful to be able to mark Hardknott out as something different to the traditional brewer. It’s not necessarily about fighting between those factions, but more a way of highlighting the difference.
Adrian, I feel, stands above this and thinks it’s silly. I guess the experienced beer writer is bound to feel that all beer is worthy of consideration. I, on the other-hand, am a keen advocate of Craft Beer as an important part of brewing into the 21st century and am proud to be part of that future, which is different to the staid flavours of the 20th century.
I’ve bunged various beers to various writers. Generally it’s in the hope they might mention them in stuff they write. I once gave Adrian a bottle of Vitesse Noir. To be honest I didn’t really expect him to write about it, especially considering we sometimes seem at odds with some of our opinions. I perhaps just wanted him to like it. However, he must have thought it quite good as he put it in his new book , A 1001 Beer You Must Try Before You Die. It’s a good book. Obviously I’m right chuffed it’s in there.
Luckily, and by almost complete coincidence, we are just about to bottle and keg a new batch. It’s not available in keg often, but it is this time. Adrian and I thought it’d be fun to have a brewer versus writer event so we can try a few beers.
I'll introduce a few of my beers, finishing with Vitesse Noir. Then we'll talk a bit about, and taste a few of the other beers in 1001 Beers. There will be copies of the book on sale as well which Adrian would love people to buy. If you ask him nicely he'll even sign copies.
Perhaps, once we’ve had a few drinks Adrian and I can start a good old drunken argument about Craft Beer, or biased beer reviews, or some other contentious topic.
Oh, and Adrian says he’ll sign copies of his book, but only if you buy a copy first.
This will all happen from about 7pm in The Rake on 9th October. Be there.