For me I feel that Brewdog is now too big to be classed as a craft small batch brewery considering I now see their beers in supermarkets.
@laura @M1tch , I understand what you mean, but they showcase on a regular basis some guest ales which are well worth tasting. Some quite abstract ones too so you don’t always have to drink their own brewed stuff! (i’m quite partial to their small batch “Elvis juice”).
We have a subscription to beer52 which send us a box of I think 8 different beers bimonthly. Its good because its stuff we never would have found otherwise. My OH is the big ale drinker in this house and so far has had some cracking Swedish ale along with the usual Belgian/Dutch stuff.
have a look at www.beer52.com. There may be something there for you
I don’t find Brewdog as a brewer particularly interesting (although Dead Pony Club is really good for a night out when you don’t want to get hammered)
However, I believe what @Leah was suggesting is one of their pubs and I have to agree with her, they are great places to go sample a good variety of interesting craft beers.
I don’t know about anyone else, but its 16:10 and now I’m in desperate need of a beer instead of this cup of tea … and I’m not even a beer drinker!
I cannot wait for the Olivier Bernstein tasting to start at 6:30 pm… sorry for continuing the off topic
I’ve always found Thornbridge bottled beers very reliable and varied. I can never resist Jaipur on the (rare) occasions it appears on draft and always have a few bottles in the house.
I am going to get myself some of the Northern Monk Faith pale ale for the weekend - just a couple of cans - and see how that goes.
Outside of UK beers/ales I have heard that Japanese beer is apparently quite good as well.
Also noticed on wine folly the stages of your wine palate:
Not too keen on sparkling wine, not bothering with pointless natural wine, looks like I am in the ‘no wine’ section - guessing next port of call is to open a bottle of Sauternes I have in the wine fridge!
Always a good idea. .
I tried some of the Faith pale ale last week, don’t think its my style of beer, I can see that it could be good as a summer beer though as its very fruity with flavours of peach and pineapple. Looks like I will be aiming for a slightly heavier and more serious beer - tried a stout as well which was good, as mentioned I tried some Brain’s Black which is a very dark stout which was interesting with coffee flavours.
I guess I also need to ask about what sort of temperature I should be trying them at, guessing most draught beer is served cellar cool so thinking lightly chilled. Should I treat lighter beers as I would do a white wine and the darker heavier beers as a red wine?
Just an FYI for anyone who enjoys the Faith pale ale, its now in clearance at 80p off a can
Shame I didn’t grab it a week or so later!
Just had a great staff training session on beers/ales here (you might have seen it on Instagram live), for me I seem to enjoy more of the complex and bitter flavours rather than the fruitier side of hops.
Here are the ones I enjoyed the most (although I could tell they were all well made and different):
Although this is a Lager its a Pilsner which is apparently the hoppiest of largers, slight bitterness to it and it uses ‘noble hops’ which are kind of ‘old world’ hops. I think if I were to go with a lager it would be probably a Pilsner.
OMG - this stout has a lot going on, lots of coffee and chocolate notes from the roasted malts, its got a smoothness and you can really taste the Whisky cask treatment this has had. Its not a stout you could drink a lot of (its 8%) but certainly packs a punch of flavour. I can also see that there is a 16 year and an 18 year version (that’s the Whisky age from the cask being used) - would be interesting to try them back to back.
The last one I tried was a Rodenbach Alexander - this is a sour beer - a very different style of beer with a sour flavour but still fruity - sour red cherries. This took a bit of time to get used to but is certain a much different style. I think this sort of beer is much like Sherry where its quite full on initially and can perhaps put you off but tempted to try a few other sour beers.
I did also try Belgian pale ale which was ok, it had a focus on yeast flavours rather than hops. There was also a traditional English bitter which I could see was more my style as it had more complexity in terms of a bit of fruit but also balanced by bitterness. A session IPA was a bit too fruity for me, whereas a standard IPA seems to strike the right balance between fruit and bitterness. There was also a blonde beer which was light, slightly fruity but still crisp - enjoyable but nothing too exciting.
Looks like I enjoy beers and ales at the slightly heavier end and more complex end of the spectrum with old world hops rather than fruitier new world hops. Saying that, with a nice summer evening a simply Pilsner lager might be perfect :).
I just watched it on instagram … really interesting
Great to hear you did we are currently trialing other ways to go behind the scenes here - much like we do with Travels in wine for our buyer’s trips.
This runs the risk of sounding elitist but it’s not dissimilar to wine in that the most interesting characterful and distinctive beers are not in the major supermarkets. Increasingly there are great bottle shops springing up run by enthusiasts only too keen to share knowledge.
£3-4 per bottle/can often so the risk is high, but lean on their expertise.
One supermarket escapes this general rule: Booths - small enough to deal with small producers.
Look at CAMRAs Good Beer Guide. It gives you a run down of all the various local breweries as well as beer styles. However beware of the term ‘Craft Beer’. It is now very much a marketing handle for the big multinationals to describe some of their products.
To start off with look up your local small brewer, and if they have bottles then fine, otherwise it’s a visit to a proper pub - again back to GBG.
From your WSET days you will know of bottle conditioning. If you get such a beer, enthusiastic pouring will result in the sediment coming out with the liquid…great laxative but can be chewy beer!
Oh and you could hunt out your nearest CAMRA or SIBA beer festival, where you can try out to your hearts content…Peterborough for example usually has about 300 to choose from (August).
I have been having a look at BeerAdvocate which I think uses user rating for beers - also helps me work out which style is similar.
I made a mental list to try and grab some ‘top’ beers/ales in some of the categories I enjoy, example being the Fullers ESB as I enjoyed the Hobgoblin a while back - although aware that its not exactly a craft beer.
GBG is an assemblage of opinions from users and enthusiasts from all over the UK. It is much more comprehensive than Ba who seem to have more listings from the nationals…Hobgoblin is part of Marstons. Smaller brewers will serve you well. My local is Ludlow Brewery, whose ‘Gold’ is really excellent at 4.2%.
One beer that really surprised me was Table Beer from The Kernel Brewery (London). It is very low alcohol (3%), but a very good pale ale with the flavours not jeopardised by the low alcohol at all. Unfortunately it is out of stock on Eebria, where they normally sell.