For those of you who regularly visit Brewskie you will have noticed that I have a relative fondness for BrewDog beers. Out of the 30 beers I’ve reviewed for the site so far 10% of them have been made by the Fraserburgh-based Micro-brewers and every one of them has had a positive write-up. Do I LOVE the beers they produce? No. But there is something about them that keeps me coming back for more. They are fresh, innovative and exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to encounter on this beer reviewing voyage I have embarked on. This is why I am so surprised that the BrewDogs won’t be at the Great British Beer Festival 2011 with their exciting range of innovative beers. There are obviously two sides to the story but it all seems a bit petty and it is such a shame that they won’t be there and this is my take on why…
Beer brewed by bloggers, that's what I'm talking about!
Perhaps it is clever marketing strategy by the BrewDogs but I feel an affinity with the whole brand; Beers for punks leading the way on a new age path to greater choice. Can I play?! Don’t get me wrong, I’m no punk, I’m more of a nerd with an insatiable appetite for hobbies (model airplanes, home brewing, cooking and playing the trumpet to name a few) but what they are striving for seems to have struck a chord with me.
I’ll be honest, not only am I new to reviewing beer but it turns out I was also pretty pig ignorant when I started writing this website (I didn’t even know the difference between a keg and a cask). I was pushing my views and bad puns on the masses without ‘really’ knowing what I was talking about. But that was kind of the point. I was writing about beer on a ‘like it’ or ‘don’t like it’ level and trying to be entertaining at the same time. I even set up advertising on my website with the pipe dream of making some money to pay for the beer, and it has nearly paid for a few bottles… nearly!
But we need to go back before then to fully understand why this decision has surprised me so much.
I actually got into beer after a trip with Mrs Brewskie to Munich. It was supposed to be a romantic holiday but we ended up spending 50% of the time in the beer halls and the rest at the hotel bar. We were just totally amazed and drawn in by the different way they treat beer over there than in the UK. Beer halls with 3,000+ capacity selling beer from a single brewery to the masses, it was both good stuff and good value too. We had a guide book and it listed the top 10 Munich beers so we made it our mission to try them all. We managed to track down 8 of them in the end and I now list these amongst my favourite beers and seek them out in the UK whenever possible.
A dog with a bone?
We got back, we joined CAMRA and I started playing around with WordPress to get Brewskie off the ground.
Since I started writing I’ve also tried a lot of real ale, some has been good, some has been great and some has been distinctly average. How do I compare them to the Munich beers? I don’t. Apples are apples and pears are pears. They are fundamentally different drinks but ultimately, they are all beer to me and your Average Joe. I understand the real ale rules about percentages of yeast, pasteurising and filtering but BrewDog aren’t about conforming to the real ale rules, they are about making good beer with new and interesting takes on flavour and strength. If you want a beer in Scotland that is about conforming to a slightly different set of rules take a look at St Mungo brewed according to the German purity laws.
I received my first edition of the CAMRA newspaper not that long ago which started with a rather strange couple of paragraphs about the goals of CAMRA and why ‘craft’ beer, with its loosely defined profile should not be part of its campaign. I thought, fair enough, CAMRA after all is the Campaign for Real Ale and the craft beer movement isn’t really trying to call themselves the real ale movement.
This decision seems to have been mainly born out of some past bickering and a lot of chest puffing from both sides. You don’t all have to be friends, you just need to understand that sometimes in life you have to learn to be tolerant and it is the public that are missing out until you can learn to get along!
After all, it is the Great British Beer Festival and it would be a shame for the BrewDogs not to be able to show their credentials as Great British Beers. Hopefully by 2012 you will have sorted all of this out and I’ll be there for a showcase of exciting BrewDog beer alongside the best of the rest. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend this year’s event as I’ll be in France attending my best mate’s wedding but it looks like I won’t be missing out on my favourite brand of punk beer.