You may or may not be aware of the banter and information exchange that goes on on Twitter. I do think it detracts greatly from blogging, but sometimes a good subject comes up. It is in the Title above and was prompted by a comment from Mark Dredge about "great Scottish breweries" and my retort that while there are some good ones, there aren't any that are great. Barry chipped in too asking what defines a great brewery. These are great questions in a chicken and egg sort of way. "Does great beer come from great breweries?" " Can a brewery be great, yet not produce "great" beers?" " Are beers the point not breweries?" "What's the definition of great?"
I don't think I'm going to answer this completely, but there are one or two things that should be included in the definition of "great" in this context. My list isn't definitive. The beer must be very good and consistently so. There should be wide recognition of the brewery's place in brewing lore. The recognition should be across the range and whatever they brew. But it is difficult. Does Duvel become a great brewery solely because of Duvel, while the rest of the range is merely very good. Does innovation and tradition have anything to do with it? I'd argue Paulaner is a great brewery, but they don't brew a single great beer. Is Brew Dog a great brewery because of innovation? Is Marble because of a great range? You see how difficult this is?
Or is it just down to great beers? I really don't know the answer, but I'll be interested in others take on the subject.
PS: Even contenders from greatness have off nights. I wasn't at all impressed with Marble beers in the MA last night.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
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