2012

It’s been a long year for me, little travel and no brewing, but I have seen some amazing sights when I have been out and about. I have pondered a few things, hopes, aspirations and even an “if I win the lottery” type thing…

2011 was a year of great challenges, shifting sands and more choice when it comes to great beers. It was great to see British breweries stepping up and increasing the quality and diversity of their beers. It’s been a lagery year for me, but UK brewed memorably:  Windsor & Eton Republika, Buxton Axe Edge, Dark Star numerous, Magic Rock Human Canonball, Brodies Kiwi, Redemption Big Chief.  Great work chaps! 

Things I would like to see in 2012

  1. I really want to see more collaboration, city wide, or just two local breweries.      Sometimes I think UK brewers look at the US brewerying social schema out of the corner of their eye.   Maybe it’s just a British thing, something we’re expected to leave at primary school, the idea of playing/working together.    Get over it, invite people in, homebrewers, pro-brewers, your favourite brewer in France, Italy, Germany or the US.  Do it! now… get on the phone, internet and do something about it!         (BrewWharf Collab with Toccalmatto and Redemption with Mikkeller, I hope is just the start of it!)
  2. Getting rid of the High Strength Beer Duty. Nuff said.
  3. UK small brewery Keg: I am really hoping that keg or one-way keg, be that KeyKeg or EcoKeg presents chance for brewers then bars to present stronger, hoppier, richer brews. Getting the general drinking populous comfortable with bigger beers and non-cask dispense, but still artisan beer, is a mountain that needs to be climbed. I want to wave bye bye to the tied keg dispense that so many pubs and bars get wrapped up in, for the sake of a cooler?
  4. More and more quality beer bars.    Beer centric bars, with a not-too-geeky-a-leaning are a massive change in the way that we might access quality beer.   Of course, then comes the onus of quality HR needs, good supply and favourable rents and leases… but they can all be worked around.   Applaud those that have taken that leap and make great new beer venues open in 2011. Congrats to Emma J Cole and Tony Leonard on the opening of the Spotted Dog, and Mark with the Powder Keg Diplomacy.
  5. Open a MicroPub: The best thing to have happened in Kent, ever. Very few things come from Kent that can have significant influence out there in BeerLand. The “MicroPub”, probably started in it’s modern guise by the legendary Martin Hillier of the Butchers Arm in Herne. Out here in deepest Kent – the Just Reproach, The Conqueror and the Bake and Alehouse are 5, part of something larger.
  6. More diversification: greater experimentation or investment in away from the norm as well as historical brewing. Where have all the Old Ales gone? IPA’s?
  7. PR Freebies: Dear beerwriter-y types, if you get freebies please – I don’t care if you don’t tell on your blog – but, please don’t look like a soft touch.  Please think about your personal brand.
  8. Being Unreasonable. When ever you feel like complaining about something, consider this:  Creating an alternative.   If you’re not happy with the status quo, do something about it.   Work with a local brewery, help promote their efforts. Work with a local beer bar, help set up a micro pub.    Get beer into your work place, arrange tastings.   Start little tasting circle.    Help spread the word! But, don’t suffer the status quo
  9. Homebrew. Do it.  It’s the best thing ever.   If you love beer, great food and find cooking easy.  And, have good cleaning routines… DO IT!     You’ll take a greater appreciation for the beers that you drink in the pub, or buy from beermerchants.com, than from any book, blog or tweet.     Remember, support your local homebrew shop.
  10. Celebrating. We really need to better celebrate the true industry heroes. We need to better celebrate the brewers, landlords and out and out beer passionate people.   Everyone loves a “nice job” pat on the back, so can we not bring it to ourselves?  Hell, if it takes sponsors, energy etc: I’ll throw my hat in the ring? C’mon people! I asked this last year!
  11. Play well with others: I hope for the long term that everyone learns to play well together. For the sake of the beer….
  12. Websites and e-presence: If you’re business in craft beer, please please get your website straight and keep it up! There are so many out of date and just useless sites out there. We’re so connected these days and so many people just jump on the web to find out. These are your main calling card? Want justification on ROI or something? There are loads of beer savvy techies who’ll help! Email me…
  13. Have fun. I think I work in the greatest industry in the world.    I am surrounded by amazing, passionate and committed people.   We have to remain focused on what reason we got into this crazy crazy game, out and out love for the greatest beverage known to man.   I want it to remain fun, exciting and always leave me with a smile on my face at the end of the day.  With out you all, this would not be possible, let’s keep it that way!

A quick note; Simon Johnson, you rock!

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Message from my local CAMRA branch

My local branch are a well travelled bunch, Roger Marples something of a local legend and someone who’s had great influence on my beer awareness – since I were a lad…

They are having a beerfestival – one of the best – The Dover White Cliffs Beer Fest.  Please go if you can, sincerelyt I cannot express just how good this festival is.   It’s normally a local festival for me, I can get the train there and back, very handy!   Except this year, the first in 6 years, or more, that I won’t be there.    I shall be elsewhere, wondering how far the Pound wont go. grr.

It hardly seems that another year has gone by, but yes, the 16th White Cliffs Festival of Winter Ales at Dover Town Hall is now only days away. On Friday Feb 6th opening time will be from 1pm to 11, and on Saturday 7th will be from 1030 to 6. Friday evening is sure to be as busy as ever and we are sorry if people have to queue in the cold. The event has become very popular, but capacity in the hall is limited. Please see What’s Brewing or our website for details of advance tickets for Fri evening.

If you can help in any way please contact: events@camra-dds.org.uk or phone Dave Green on 01304 202489. In addition to serving behind the bar on Fri and Sat we urgently need help on Mon 2nd Feb from 9am when the barrels arrive, also on Sunday 8th for the Great Clear-Up

LINK TO DDS CAMRA SITE AND FEST NEWS