I was going to write an article about how little I'd enjoyed the beers brewed by overseas brewers for the current Wetherspoon's Beer Festival. The Regal Moon in Rochdale had nine on the first day of the festival and some I thought were quite poor and others tasted of acetone or other brewing faults and some were just pretty bland. Or odd. It was a bit of a depressing list, so I just didn't bother.
At the moment there is no cooking facilities in our house as renovations near the end and a new kitchen is being fitted. After my usual Sunday session at the Tavern, we decided to nip into our local JDW, the Harbord Harbord, in Middleton for something to eat. Before you condemn me, trust me, there isn't a lot of other choice in Midd at half past six on a Sunday, unless you want a curry. And while there are few times I'm not up for a ruby, E didn't fancy it so JDW it was.
Where's this all leading? Well I had two different foreign brewer's beers that I had had on that first night in the Regal Moon and I thought both really rather good. It occurred to me that they were older. Both seemed rounder, fuller and more polished. More mature and less harsh in fact. It is often overlooked these days that beer in cask needs a little time to be at its best and for the flavours to fully develop. Often, due to lack of experience in cellarmanship, the difficulty of storing beer, both in terms of space and cost, means a lot of cask beer is sold before it has reached its best in the cask. It is often referred to as being "green." There isn't an easy answer to this, but the difference you taste in the same beer in different venues may well be down to this, resulting in a beer that tastes young, thin and not as good as it could. As most live beer will develop in the cask, only a short time more in the cellar will make a difference in many cases.
So publicans, if you can afford to, leave (unbroached) beer a little longer in the cellar. It'll pay in flavour and condition and your customers will notice a difference.
The practice of serving beer immediately it drops bright isn't always helpful either.
You will see that Thwaites used to call their real ale "mature."
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.
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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