There's a tendency among, shall we call them for talking's sake, "new wave" brewers to push the envelope, discard the tried and tested, do things just because they can and to generally cock a snook at those old fashioned enough to produce beer by the pint that the large majority actually want to drink. Indeed, in some cases, to be plain, downright insulting about those that travel roads more traditional. I can think of one or two like that, though clearly they are the minority.
On a similar tack I noted today in Phil's blog a bit of the same concern about the direction of travel, concentrating in this case on the tendency to lump odd things into beer - peanut butter and biscuit anyone? - and positing that the main point seems to be to chuck into the brew, things you wouldn't expect to find generally speaking. So, experiment with off the wall ingredients and flog it to the (admittedly) willing for
£8 a pop. Nice work if you can get it. After all, who can complain that
is is "off". "You just don't get it Man". Now Phil's not making the same point as me actually - wait I'll get there in a minute - but it's a digression that I happen to agree with by and large and not unconnected with another point that Phil makes and leads me on to mine.
I tweeted an interesting article in the Morning Advertiser, sadly to no response, by one of these pesky traditional brewers, this time Marston's MD, Richard Westwood. In a fairly wide ranging interview Richard made the point, as I often do, about excellent cask beer being ruined at the point of dispense by too many beers and poor cellar practice. I agree with his contention that there is a need to balance the customer requirement for choice with resulting (lack of) quality issues. What caught my eye though was his contention that keg doesn't really solve that problem, as it only keeps at its best when opened, "one or two days extra".
Now of course you can regard Richard as a craft knocking dinosaur despite his 40 years in the industry - he isn't at all by the way - read the article - but he makes a point, often overlooked by most of us, that keg beer goes off too and maybe goes off a lot sooner than we'd like to think. The answer of course is to ensure, keg or cask, that you only sell what your turnover justifies. Does that always happen in the craft world? It doesn't in the cask one.
Mind you, if having just paid £8 a pint, you have no idea at all whether your beer contains odd tasting exotica, or is just plain "off", for peace of mind, best convince yourself it is the former.
Have a go at working out the GSP on Phil's blog. Some dodgy arithmetic methinks I like @Robsterowski's wine analogy too, though I reckon that most wine makers don't make it up as they go along and charge their customers top dollar for their experiments.
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.
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