Saturday, 8 November 2008


In Seaching for good beer and Penrith Beer not so good I complain about the beer choice not being as good as I'd like. What am I complaining about though? The beers were perfectly good beers. Nothing, really, technically wrong with them.

I remember David from Cumbria Legendary Ales first delivering his King Dunmail, which is a classic best bitter. I was disappointed by this particular beer after having had his Dickey Doodle and Wicked Jimmy - which I think are both excellent. I commented to him that I was less than completely excited about this one. He pointed out that the King Dunmail is designed to be a Best Bitter, and as such it is.

Lately I have seen some fuss over Tetleys closing down. Now to me this beer is nothing special. It's not a bad beer but I will not be mourning it's demise. I think it is unfounded to blame the owners of the brand for letting it fail. I believe any advertising in support of an old fashioned brand would have been commercially unwise, throwing good money away.

(Alan says "Tell'em to stop complainin' 'n' drink sumut else")

We have got Keswicks Thirst Fall on the bar just now. I'd class it as a Best Bitter but probably not in the classic sense. It's got some other stuff going on, more adventurous than the regular and predictable stuff out there. Malty and hoppy in equal amounts and a good balance between the two. Most importantly plenty of late drop hops - some aromas to play with your nasal cavity and enhance the whole experience.

I've also got Moth Bag from Bargates on the pulls here. Earlier I had reason to go down to Ravenglass and happened to park outside The Holly House. The Landlord came out to see me as he recognised the car. Well it would have been rude not to go in for one wouldn't it? He had TT Landlord on the bar. both of these beers hit you with some hoppy effects and let you KNOW you are drinking ale.

I met Jeff Picthall yesterday and I'll apologise now for plagiarising his comments. We were discussing some beers that we had tried and he pointed out why some didn't excite me. Tirrel for instance, is a good brewery, I have the beers here on occasions - and provided they haven't fallen out with me for making these comments will do so again. They sell and people seem to like them. I don't choose Tirrel for myself because they all fall into the category of classic.

So the question is why does a micro brewery want to brew something that is just a facsimile of an existing brand? Or alternatively, why do we so mourn the passing of big old unwanted breweries when there are so many micros that can do the same thing?

But equally, if you are in a pub and you pick your mates pint up by mistake, and you can't tell it's a different beer then what's the point of it being different? What's the point of a beer that's OK but no different to Watneys Red Barrel?

With the varieties of hops and malt and yeasts available and the variation to flavours and aromas depending on when you put the hops in the brew, why do so many beers taste the same? When there are so many beers out there to be tried, why do pubs put three beers on in a row that are all the same?

Tandleman gave Meantime Coffee Porter a bit of a slating and I've had something similar myself and not liked it. But at least it's different, if truly awful. It's a bit like modern art that most of us question, but at least modern art pushes the boundaries as does Coffee Porter.

To continue the art metaphor, a painter has a vast palate of colour to choose from and a huge range of media with which to work. If he used green pastel all the time he'd have to be a damn good artist to excite anybody.

(According to Alan, Picasso had a green period - bah, for a Manc he knows far too much)

1 comment:

Alistair Reece said...

I think this is one of the refreshing things about the American craft brewing scene - without the shackles imposed by tradition and culture, they are free to make whatever beer they feel like.

I get the sense that the UK shares with the Czech Republic a subconscious tie to the way things have always been done and so there is little incentive to innovate.

However, when I do make it home to Blighty I love the fact that I have such a wide range of styles to try, rather than a myriad of variations on the theme of pale lager.