Thursday 16 October 2014

Gog standard beer

I seem to be falling ever further behind my fellow beer nerds in chasing the latest in fashionable beers. In a recent beer geek poll I found I'd only drunk four of the top ten pale ales in Britain. The only non-CAMRA beer festival I got to has rants against keg beer in the programme. And I've never bought a craft beer can, not even in 'Spoons.

Quite how I've fallen so far behind, despite my dedicated beer nerdery, has been a cause for some reflection. My love of cask beer, and antipathy to keg must explain a lot. As does the Guinness FES test, as I seldom feel the urge to pay specialist beer shop prices for strong stouts when I can pay supermarket prices.

But I was still left wondering why I was lagging with the pale ales. Then I realised I had another benchmark beer: Goose Island IPA. Whenever I feel the need for an American hop hit I have an excellent beer easily available in local supermarkets. In fact there's several, and I probably buy more beer of that ilk from Oakham or Thornbridge. So pricer options for beers of similar style have little appeal.

I've now realised my buying habits generally entail needing to know if the beer is significantly better than Gog standard (Guinness or goose) before I'll fork out significantly more than supermarket prices..


  1. As far as I can tell, though, the IPA thing is about supermarkets versus specialist shops whereas Guinness FES is more "good macro" versus "small craft". As in, somewhere like Beer Ritz has fairly similar prices for Goose Island and similar beers from Buxton or Beavertown, it's just that Tesco or whoever are marking it up less or (more likely) getting it cheaper from the supplier because they'll reliably shift volumes of it.

    For my part, I don't actually drink that much at home and when I do I'm happy to pay a bit extra to support a diverse scene. Supermarkets are inherently conservative and won't bother to stock stuff unless there's a proven market for it. The indie-tax that I pay by getting most of my standard bottled IPAs from a local independent shop means that they're less likely to have gone out of business when I actually want something a bit less tried-and-tested, or to drink something other than same three beers all the time.

  2. I just haven't found 'craft' IPAs from specialist shops any better than what I can get in local supermarkets at half the price. I still stock up on Orval though!

    Pondering again, I guess I don't mind paying a premium for cask beer but I'm much thriftier with bottled beer.