Friday, 1 January 2010

New year's resolutions for other people

It's always more fun telling other people how they can improve, isn't it?

In 2010, these are some of the things I would like to see happen:
  • More pubs take advantage of their off-licences to sell take-away draught beer, but not take the piss by charging the same as in the bar. I don't know if the arithmetic works out over here, but the very traditional brewpubs in Germany manage to do this.
  • Upturn in cask beer sales leading to a revival in cellarmanship, leading to beer being served in better condition in more pubs.
  • Our favourite canine brewers get enough cash together to build their new brewery and convince the sceptical that it really is all about the beer.
  • More of the great English beers making it north of the border … Thornbridge, Adnams, Marble in Scotland ... even pubs ordering a Fuller's beer other than bloody London Pride would be nice. Heck, I'd even drink Greene King XX if I ever saw it instead of Abbot.
  • Stupid bye-laws against public drinking be repealed, or at least universally ignored.
  • Bams who can't take responsibility for how much alcohol they pour down their own necks to be held in contempt. They give all alcohol a bad name.
  • Neo-prohibitionists ditto.
  • Better retail outlets, making more of an effort to stock a wider range of local beers.
  • Something to be done to stop Charlie Papazian and Roger Protz writing nonsense about beer.
  • The welcome increase of market share for good beer to continue
This last point is not wishful thinking. I was at a new year party last night (warning: anecdotal evidence alert!) and everyone was drinking wine or upmarket beer — Williams Bros, Sierra Nevada, La Chouffe, Krušovice — except a few art school hipsters with their Tennent's.

It seems to me that the pace of change in the beer scene even in the allegedly conservative UK is increasing and that there are changes in store for us in the next few years beyond what any of us imagine now. It's going to be a fun year.

10 comments:

  1. Agree with all except the first one, sorry.

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  2. Krusovice is considered an upmarket beer in Scotland? Dear, oh dear.

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  3. Funny how relative things are... Krušovice in this neck of the woods has a terrible image that Heineken are working hard to change. The quality of the beer has improved (at least they are not getting any more leftovers from Radeberger to mix in their batches), but there's still a long way to go.

    On the other hand, we might look down at it here, but if you compare it with other continental lagers they might get over there, Krušovice comes on top of many, if not most.

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  4. Agree that it would be great to get pub quality beer to take home but reckon pubs should be able to charge the same as they do in bar, you're getting a better experience after all. If you want to pay less that's what supermarkets are for but you can't expect the same quality.

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  5. Krušovice is the reason I wrote "upmarket" rather than "craft beer" ... ;) I mean that it's perceived as higher quality than bog standard beer.

    On takeaway beer, I didn't really expect Dave to agree, I don't think it would necessarily make financial sense for all (or even most) pubs but there could be some for whom it would be a useful means of boosting volume. I'd like to get packaged beer from my local rather than the supermarket too, but y'know, not at a 50% premium.

    Interestingly enough, for the kind of beer I like to buy, the price gap between the off- and on-trade is already minimal a lot of the time. In the case of my local brewery, West, it's actually cheaper to drink it on draught than to buy the packaged version.

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  6. Nice one. Pretty much agree with all of them. An upturn in cask sales leading to better cellarmanship is a good one. As for takeout... I've never bought cask beer to take home, but I still like the option if it's there. Bars who sell bottles to take out would be nice too.

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  7. I definitely think people seem keener to 'upgrade' their pints, even if I don't always think the beer they're drinking is much good (a mate of mine was on Shepherd Neame Late Red the other night and was very proud of himself for it...).

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  8. "even pubs ordering a Fuller's beer other than bloody London Pride would be nice"

    Yes!

    What is it with good breweries that only ever have one beer getting distributed? In one of the pubs on Huddersfield station last year I had a pint of a Timothy Taylor beer that wasn't Landlord, and it was ace! I'd never heard of it before and I've never seen it anywhere since.

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  9. Greene King's XX Mild is actually a terrific beer. By far the brewery's best as the house sourness (from the yeast?), so unpleasant in their other beers (albeit I like sour beer - GK's house taste is just BAD), is well matched with the milky smoothness of the mild.

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  10. I'd have to agree with you and disagree with Woolpack Dave on point one since that is the direction we are going in at The Cricketer's in take-out ale and bottle sales - although the pricing has to be right. It's true, the more ale you get through in a pub, the better nick it's going to be in, it doesn't necessarily hold true about cellarmanship - that involves dedication and time and a sense of conscience.

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