"I am also really excited about how the beer scene in the UK has changed over the last few years. It was fucking awful back in 2007. We wanted to be a catalyst for change. And we believe we have only been able to be that catalyst by doing all the crazy, high octane things that so many people took objection to at the time."
As I’d been drinking beer for many years before 2007 I cast my mind back to see if I could recall what I’d been drinking in the dark days before Brewdog. I usually have trouble remembering anything more than a weekend ago but a few dusty old brain cells seem to be still firing.
My drinking career started back in the late 80s. Since then there’s been a lot of cask beer drunk obviously. Cask beer is not always served at its best, but when it is can be absolutely sublime, and to this day I can still honestly say that the best beer I’ve ever had was a cask beer. The cask beers were overwhelmingly below 5% ABV, with CAMRA beer festivals usually being the only places there was anything stronger.
Bottled beers were another matter though. Stronger beers like Imperial Russian Stouts and Barley Wines were out there if you could find them. I was lucky that a local brewery had a well stocked off licence with a good range of imported beers, particularly from Belgium. So Trappist beers, lambics, Flemish red and brown ales were relatively easy to get hold of. Supermarkets, as today, could be variable, but Sainsbury’s had an own label geuze back in the early 90s, and I found many American Craft Beers in Safeways (late 90s, early 2000s?). Goose Island IPA was the stand out beer, and to this day it remains a favourite. In fact when I first drank Brewdog Punk IPA (2007 or 2008) I thought, great, someone in Britain is making a beer in the style of American craft beer and I did shop around to find their beers when I could. Goose Island did wipe the floor with Punk when I compared them side by side though.
Since 2007 American pale ale style beers have become a lot easier to find, as have beers of higher strength and Brewdog undoubtedly played a part in this. A lot more beer styles that previously I only found as imports now seem to be brewed domestically, and if that’s your thing there are now premium niche products served on keg which I can’t remember seeing before. Not that I pay much attention to keg fonts though so they could have been out there before.
So before 2007 I had drunk a wide range of beers of excellent quality, from a wide range of styles and strengths. Perhaps if I was young, inexperienced, and from a crap hole in the middle of nowhere my experiences would have been different.I’d be interested to hear any thoughts from other drinkers that weren't in short trousers in the dark days before Brewdog.