It’s pretty obvious today that the Uk is witnessing a phenomenal growth in the interest for craft beer. It’s a term that is rather new, and not something everyone is clear on in its meaning. To us Brits, there are three types of drink we associate with in pubs that come in the form of a pint. They are beer, lager and cider. You either drink one of the three. So what exactly is craft beer? Like anything that is deemed to be crafted, you associate that it’s been made, or ‘crafted’ by someone that has a high level of skill in the making of a product. Or that the product is authentic. You could say that we have ‘real ale’, and we do, glorious that it is though, for me, it isn’t what craft beer is. It’s more than real ale. It takes real ale to another level. An experimental level that when it pays off is so good, it’s results can leave the connissuers and enthusiasts talking about it for hours.
Britain has a long standing tradition in beer. We have been champions at brewing it for centuries. Maybe that is what has held us back in the true craft beer stakes. Tradition. All well and good and something to be proud of. Though that proudness can also bring out a level of intolerance to change. Being so proud of our brewing methods and beer styles is what has delayed the explosion of craft beers in this great country of ours.
It’s little wonder the birth of true craft beer began across the pond in the USA. There, they had no proud tradition in beer making. Nothing to veer from in there production method and invention of this centuries old beverage. Making beer was already a scene geared up to be experimented with in the USA. Our experimental brewing scene,which is now growing rapidly in the Uk, is built upon and influenced by the dare devil brewing scene in America. Where the standard has well and truely been set. Making our classic, beloved real ales appear not much better than a pint of flat, bland, malty river water in comparison. The variance and vast choice of hops available to US brewers is immense.
Following the de-regulation of brewing in 1979 in the USA, enthusiasts, disillusioned with the generic, monolithic beer companies, were now permitted to start brewing themselves. Old styles of beer were reinvented, with brewers focusing on creating a unique and high quality product. Strict distribution regulations meant that much of the very best craft beer from the USA would hardly ever make its way to our shores. It was only because of beer enthusiasts from the Uk, visiting the USA and sampling the amazing beer there, that the idea of making and supplying that style of beer to the people of the Uk came about. Best friends James Watt and Martin Dickie are at the forefront of starting the Uk craft beer revolution with thier brewery Brewdog. Making it thier mission in 2007 to change peoples perception on what real beer is like. Thier sole mission was to make people as passionate about beer as they were. That is still thier mission today,and there are taking the Uk by storm with there hop heavy beer creations.
Evin O’riordan went to New York planning to open his own cheese deli. Until he began to taste the beer and realised there was nothing like it in the Uk. He ditched the cheese shop idea, coming back to london and started brewing non stop until he perfected that American style hoppy beer he loved. Eventually opening up The Kernal in London, which has grown into one of the most successful microbreweries in London.
Nowadays craft beer seems to be everywhere. With Supermrkets buying into the growing demand offering a vast range of US craft beers amonst European beers and British craft beers. Even the bigger more corperate breweries are recognising the trend and are attempting to bring out thier own versions to counter the craze, aswell as buying out small independant breweries.
So it has to be said in all fairness, that if it wasn’t for the passion, creativity and boldness of our friends across the pond. Then maybe the delicious craft beer we are starting to find more and more may never have become available. Therefore I feel obliged to salute you America, and thank you for being the creators and the original brewing alchemists that has developed such wonderful beer. Beer that has began a revolution in the Uk. A revolution that has seen the craft beer market increase by 79% in the last twelve months and is only forcast to grow more.
For those reasons alone I have only three words to say. God Bless America!!!!