Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Wait, yes it IS your grandad’s homebrew – so what?

It’s a truism that advertising and other PR campaigns are disproportionately aimed either at the young and would-be hip, for reasons which are better explored elsewhere. It seems to me it’s as true of beer as of anything else.

Why the rest of us should care what the young and fashionable are drinking, however, remains something of a mystery. Nonetheless, much of the discourse – especially in the mainstream media and especially around beer festivals – focuses quite unnecessarily on demographic aspects. Does your beer festival attract young, trendy people? Great! Do an older, beer-bellied and tatty-jumpered crowd come? Uh-oh – no double page feature in the Sunday paper for you!

So it was quite refreshing to hear from the PR agency of the charity Royal Voluntary Services. Over the last weekend the RVS put on a one-day festival in Hoxton, GrandFest, “celebrating the craft skills of the older generations.”

Eight masterclasses were on offer, each given by a practitioner over 70 years old who has been doing it for years. One of the classes was homebrewing, given by George, who claims never to have drunk commercial beer. Here’s a wee video:

I asked George a few questions about his brewing.

I wanted to know whether George, who said in the video he’d been homebrewing since the 1970s, had done it continuously since, or given up for a while like many others. Continuously, more than ten litres of beer and wine a week, was the answer.

George’s favourite kit is Premier Bitter and he likes blackcurrant and elderberry wine,  although he says the Elderberry can take years to settle.

What commercial beer did George drink, if any? None! Only what he made. 

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