Like many beer lovers at the moment, I very much enjoy a cold new / American style pale ale. I drink quite a lot of Meantime, Brew Dog, Thornbridge etc, and find them great, flavourful, thirst quenching drinks.
You can see the but coming can’t you? Wait a minute, we’ll get to it.
A lot of traditional British beer is not highly flavoured. One man’s subtle is another man’s dull. Then there’s the lack of investment from global brewing behemoths, the pressure on pubs to make sure cellars and lines are perfect and a generally fusty old fashioned image. Beers like John Smiths, Boddingtons etc are good examples.
The development of highly hopped pale ales could be seen as a wish to break out of the traditional market and offer something else to beer drinkers.
Well done guys, you’ve succeeded, and I’m drinking one now;
When in the New Forest I had a moment of epiphany. I’d had a longish walk with Aidan on my back. It was hot. I was thirsty. Got to a lovely pub at Godshill in the New Forest and had a look at the real ales. I was concerned. Doombar, Pride and Ringwood Best. I don’t like any of them. Either too sweet (any Cornish beer) or just a bit dull.
I went for the Ringwood, as it was local.
And then laughed out loud at my thin and ugly veneer of City sophistication.
The Ringwood was cool, and clean (good cellar and lines), refreshing, nice bitter hoppyness, very limited sweet malt. It was, in short, perfect for the time and place.
It was a perfect example of what beer is designed to be. Thirst quenching, and pleasant, but I don’t need to use 25 adjectives to describe it.
Here’s the only one that matters.
It was a beer that did all I wanted from it, and sometimes that’s all you need, rather than a face full of simcoe, cascade, Amarillo etc.
A beer that tastes of beer? How wonderful.