I have mentioned Steel City Brewing here before and noted from reading their website that they are shortly to get their own brewing licence from HMRC. Good for them. Bring some to a pub near me soon, because they are good. I note too that Gazza Prescott, one of the owners and beer hunter extraordinaire, has written an article on what he calls a new beer style, Mid Atlantic Pale Ale. This can roughly be described as very pale and very hoppy. Now I haven't asked Gazza about writing this article and heedful of his warnings about copying things from his website, I won't quote as such. Instead I'll just say that I agree with almost everything he says and urge you all to read it. His web site isn't a blog, so you can't comment there.
This is though a "revolution" that we have known about and written about in the North for quite some time and my own view is that it is now spreading and will continue to gain momentum. Gazza gives a list of breweries and beers too, just to get you in the groove and illustrate his point. When you read it, you'll be nodding and think "Yep, good brewery". Needless to say Gazza's money is where his mouth is. His beers are hoppy as hell. Another point of his I'd agree with from my own American experiences, is that of crystal malt ruining otherwise great beers and also his belief that here in the UK, slowly but surely, brown, caramel bombs are being pushed aside in the better pubs at least. I go along with his contention too, that this new style is virtually unique (I know, I know) to the British Isles.
I will add an observation or two of my own though and both of them are in the form of concerns. Too many British brewers, big and small, are still churning out the same old "toffee malt" laden cack and they ignore this new trend at their peril. Many small brewers have dismissed or disregarded the pale revolution, which has been around for a few years now and have done so at the expense of their own sales and future prospects, competing with the same kind of beers that the big boys churn out, while those like Phoenix and Pictish have forged ahead, selling all they can brew. Unlike American brewers who usually have wide portfolios of styles, too many of ours are one trick ponies and too many are stuck in the mud. Secondly, our largest independent brewers are so timid in hopping, that you sometimes wonder if they just show the casks a photo of a hop on the racking line. They need to look around them or be left behind. Just look at the success of Jaipur IPA if you doubt it.
Lastly, I'm not saying that there isn't a place for balance and for darker malts, but what I am saying is that some of the fundamentals are shifting, bringing a wind of change that can no longer be ignored.
You might find it difficult to find the article, but go to "Blog" date 26/05/2010 and click "here."
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. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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