London is always an enigma to me. It contains some of the best pubs in the country, has some of the most go ahead brewers and new wave bars yet still thinks it is in the Second World War in terms of new inventions like refrigeration. The problem of warm cask beer is one that I bang on about and will continue to bang on about. London has some of the best pubs - pubs you could happily drink beer in all day - if only the beer wasn't kept so bloody awfully. Even the lager is rarely as cold as it ought to be. London, it seems, likes warm beer.
Funnily enough though this isn't about that. I just like to stick that knife in whenever I can. So what am I banging on about this time? Well the lack of pale, hoppy beer that's what. In the North and by this I mean anywhere above Birmingham, it would be an odd situation indeed if, in a free house or even one that isn't, you didn't find something pale and hoppy on the bar. It is a given Oop North but this just doesn't seem to happen in London and when and if you do come cross something pale, if it isn't Dark Star Hophead, it is likely to be sweet and it is likely to be the only one on the bar that that isn't brown. Going further south, on my recent trip to Broadstairs, there was again a distinct lack of hop forward blonde beers. Why is this I wonder? Is it a matter of preference or perceived preference? Is it a lack of availability locally and local is big at the moment? I'm kind of baffled.
Why is this? Any ideas?
The list of Northern Breweries producing a huge range of blonde beers is vast. Those would be people like Phoenix, Saltaire, Elland, Pictish, Allgates, Wilson Potter, Goose Eye, Mallinsons, Ossett to name but a few. These can be readily bought through beer distributors. There is lots more.
And yes, I know some exist down South, but why don't we see them in London is the question.
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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