Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Getting Better

What is? London is. There is a step change in what is happening in the capital. More choice and better choice, new bars opening, new breweries appearing and getting space on bars because they are local. (Not yet because they are universally good.) Better awareness of beer all round it seems too and it is happening fast. Very fast. Publicans and pub chains are thinking about beer and how they can make something more of it and that is fantastic and overdue.  London has great pubs and now we are on the way to great beer. Brilliant.

There are still problems, though most can be easily eradicated. First range and choice. Too much samey brown beer. The golden, hoppy, quaffing beer is still hard to find and when you do it is likely to be Dark Star Hophead. No bad thing in itself, but there are others out there. Variety is important and if like me you are unattracted to a certain style of beer, you will have lost a customer if there isn't a bit of real choice, rather than just a variation on a single theme. When choosing beers, spread the choice and broaden the appeal.

The second is temperature and condition. There is still too much tired, flabby and overvented beer being sold at over 16C- and sold for top dollar too. That's easily sorted and it is instructive that you are at least as likely to get a properly conditioned pint, served at cellar temperature in a JDW or a Nicolsons (haven't they improved?) than you are in some of the the new fancy beer emporia. Particularly disappointing as you would hope that the new specialist beer bars, appealing to younger drinkers and beer enthusiasts as they do,  would be leading the way on this.

So with a few caveats, great stuff and huge potential for more, but the old mantra of quality, quality, quality, can never be repeated enough. While it may be needed more in London, it should be the watchword of every publican in the land, particularly in these difficult times.


Cooking Lager said...

What about the sparklers?

Mark said...

Couldn't agree with you more Tandy. I counteract that lack of choice by only visiting the decent boozers though. ;)


Tandleman said...

Cookie - They'll get there in the end.

Mark - Even that's no guarantee. It isn't so much lack of choice but poorly chosen.

Rabidbarfly said...

Not sure I believe all this nonsense about London being rubbish at beer, I've drunk a lot of beer in London and most of it is bloody lovely!
As you say it's not only London that needs consistency, it's everywhere.
And as for 'getting better'? sounds a wee bit patronising mate, yeah some people do need to up their game but that's the same all over.

Ghost Drinker said...

I think you may have a bit of a advantage where you work Rabid! I've never, Ever, had anything bad to drink in the Rake.

scott murray said...

Would love to get myself down to taste some of the kernel beers I've heard a lot about, a place that hasn't had much beer talk about it lately however is Dublin. There must be some activity in relation to up and coming 'craft' brewing?

Phil said...

golden, hoppy, quaffing beer

What, like the acquired taste that is Marble Pint, the challenge to the unwary that is W90 or the outright undrinkable Summer Marble? (And I like Marble beers... well, some of 'em.) For us Southerners*, if the malt's going head to head with the hops and not backing down, then it's 'quaffable'. If it's 'golden' it needs to be cold, bland and coming out of a tap labelled 'Stella'.

*I'm an adoptive Manc - I've only been here since 1982.

Tandleman said...

Rabid - Not meant to be patronising, but speaking as I find. I don't like paying loadsa money for sub standard beer and it happens all too much.

Go to the "destination" pubs of any other major city and you'll get much better quality beer.

Vibrant, bursting with freshness and condition beer is all too rare. Don't jib at it. Work with your colleagues in other establishments to improve it.

Tandleman said...

Phil. There is more to pale beer than Marble and Stella. Ther is a malt preference I'm sure in London.

Get over it. Hops are the thing.

BT said...

Redemption Pale Ale from Tottenham is a superb hoppy session bitter. Highly recommended.

Phil said...

Naah, when you get a bunch of upstarts with fancy marketing claiming to have invented single-hop beers - and by and large not getting called on it - it's a sure sign that the golden, hoppy wave has passed its peak. Nice while it lasted, I dare say, but the malt revival is where it's at. Just ask Marco!

coxy said...

talking of all the great beer in the norf, going to Blackpool for the weekend and can't find anything that looks decent other than the Taps in Lytham,any suggestions please?