When I am driving along the roads and motorways 0f the UK and Europe, my brain trips over many a subject; beer, fishing or what ever BBC worldservice talking about. Frequently I am writing some amazing content, ehh, again in my mind, arguing with the politician or opinion maker of the moment. Most time, there is fat chance of actually remembering these amazing words, getting it down on paper, or on to the blog in way that I hoped. I read many of the blogs out there, that @allbeernews twitter feed keeping me uptodate as much as my brain will handle, as well as many other resources for keep up to date with beer news, some of which inspires me, intimidates me, or just guaranteed to put me to sleep.
I have done a lot of shouting about the qualities that a number of British brewers we have here, for lack of a better term, the premier league, who’d sit along side top Belgian, Danish, Italian, French or the ubiquitous example of US craft beer. People have mentioned to me, there is one I haven’t written much about, why? possibly because everyone else has or is, whether the love or hate, or when the homework has been done, what’s left to write about. They are exciting active people, where as me? lol..
I have tried many if not all their beers. Hell, some I have actually disliked, but that’s just a non-love of Islay malts, but then I have never fallen in love with one of their beers either then again, I’ve struggled to dislike any of of their beers. Some brews have transended, carving a niche of their own, only possible from a level of innovation that we aren’t seeing from hte majority of brewers here, save for a few here in the UK. They have a go to flavour. Few brewers have struck international relationships like they have, and few breweries from outside the US have been invited to be on the Brewing Network.
Being genuinely creative in this day and age, considering the speed that life moves, and more over maintaining the pace of creativity that they set themselves is a tough challenge. It’s a wonderful thing, being confronted with a big stainless vessel, a ton of grain and a lot of hops. Creating big flavoured beer is great, the challenge and selling them is a whole ‘nuther problem. The efforts they have gone to create such big beers, challenge the um, “tastes” of the UK. What I find most remarkable is the awareness that people have for them out side of the country.
There are few breweries, beyond the old classics, that have real presence in the US, they are really to be applauded for that. Shit, everytime I head abroad all I get asked “it’s great you have a decent brewery in the UK”… Ok, I do have to sit them down quietly, shine a very bright light in their face, dampen a towel and explain that there are a number of other breweries doing their own thing, slightly under the global radar, but it’s great to hear people discussing a UK brewer.
As brewers, what goes on in the meetings, “I know let’s brew a 3.5% mega hoppy thing“, “wouldn’t it be fun to brew a bunch of barrel aged beers” and the list goes on… right down to 1.1% even, I am sure it’s not a conventional moment? I think sometimes it’s forgotten that they really only kicked off in 2004! In a time before Beermerchants.com the efforts of a friend, Tom Cadden shouting about them on Ratebeer, really brought them to mine and many more people’s attention. Their efforts with the barrel ageing in various distillery whisky casks, brought a big slice of indigenous flavour to their edgy brand stylings.
Those who know the back grounds of the partners in, um, pursuits, one wanted to be a distiller, perhaps we’re seeing something of an in carnation of his aspirations, or just interests. The creation, creating a sort of new style, eis-ing a barrel aged imperial stout, rather than the Eis’d Bock, a niche brew from Germany, is a real effort, and investment. There are a few brewers on the lips of many craft beer fans that have approached this, Mikkeller and Struise off the top of my head. Their efforts very limited in production, really only seen at tiny festivals, or specialist tasting events. Where as, you, dear reader with credit card in hand, could just pop on their website, grab yourself a bottle, wait a few days, find a good moment, open a bottle… and relax into a very comfy space, on a sofa. Round of applause for bringing this to the beer scene, it’s a challenge, mad cap stupid idea, but thank god they have done it. Maybe I would have liked it in a Dave style bottle, (see HoTD Dave), with a screw cap, or small whisky bottle for a laugh… but, hell, lamb is best dressed as lamb. A few have baulked at it’s strength, gimme a break, who cares. I want to see how this beer performs on the dinner table, a fresh opened bottle, finishing a meal with some really good truffles, a good coffee… I could see a nice dinner closed out with that brew.
They bring it, they have caused debate, they answer their critics, invigorated “the scene”, built a brand, seemingly had great fun doing it… congratulations. They are the most exciting brewery in the UK.
Oh, they are called BrewDog.