Sunday 21 December 2014

All's Fair

All of a sudden there was a stream of expletives from Scott.

"What's the matter?" I enquired, bothered that something terrible had happened to that day's brew.

"Have you seen this in Beer?"

Our local friendly Royal Mail man had delivered and Scott had found my copy of What's Brewing and Beer. Now, you think I sometimes have a pop at CAMRA. It's nothing compared to the things Scott has to say about cask beer and some of the views held by those who try to uphold its future. It's not that he doesn't think cask beer can't be good, it's just that he's come from USA where fantastic beer is found in abundance in keg and he doesn't understand why the same doesn't happen here.

I viewed the advert for Theakston's Best Bitter, on the inside front cover of Beer, and thought to be an amusing jibe at craft beer.

"Kumquat in beer? Now there's an idea" I said "For that matter, lark's tongue in aspic flavoured crisps sounds like a fun spoof little gag, had we the resources to pull of such a heist"

It seems to me that there are a couple of ways the established brewing industry can deal with what is by now undoubtedly becoming a major player in the market; craft beer. It can jibe in a most unpleasant and confrontational way or it can join in with the fun in an amusing rebuff whilst maximising on the particular breweries old peculiarities.

Scott seemed to think that the advert was a cheeky slant on craft beer. I thought differently. Firstly, for Theakston to be even able to use the advert the term craft beer has to ring bells. OK, so those bells might be bells of distain for the readership of Beer, but still, it shows a coming of age for craft beer.

But moreover, at a time when there seems to be many people claiming that we should all shout universally that all beer is good, it seems to me that at least one brewery is ready to fight gloves off. I for one welcome this. Theakston absolutely have the right to identify and contrast their own unique selling point; that they believe they were an early craft brewer right back in 1827.

And of course, we have every right to point out that we are a modern brewery, crafting our beers to hit a more progressive, adventurous and open minded drinker. If we choose to put kumquat in our beers to excite our audience, or dry hop the hell out of them, and point out that this is one of the many things that makes us different to the rest of the sometimes rather drab major players, then we have every right to do so.