Saturday 20 November 2021

Breaking the glass ceiling

The price of premium bottled ales doesn't seem to have changed in years. Like some fixed feudal price it's been around £2 a bottle, or £1.50 when you look for special offers or multibuys, for ages. 

I can't see this lasting though. Brewery suppliers are  not bound by such feudal constraints. At the moment all of them seem to be putting their prices up, many by double digit percentages and in the case of CO2 by 300%. There's no way breweries will be able to absorb these costs. Supermarkets have a lot of power when it comes to beating down prices but even they aren't going to be able to make brewers sell beer at below cost. Not in the long term anyway. 

The cost pressures will also apply to craft cans, though at the moment they seem to be going down in price. I'm not much of  a can buyer but if I remember rightly it's not so long ago they were generally £3 a pop for 330ml cans, whereas £2.50 for 440ml seems common now. 

And in more bad news for small brewers about half the craft cans in my local supermarket were made by multinationals.

Sunday 14 November 2021

Horror in Hackney Wick

The Beer Merchants Tap is not the place for me. Having an open plan industrial look and a single hand pump shows it's a craft beer bar and therefore not really designed for a #PubMan like myself. I took it on the chin though. I try not to get upset about such things nowadays. And the Best from Beak Brewery in Lewes was perfectly fine, thought it's no Harvey's. 

Look at the long bar

However, when my friends had arrived and I went to get a round in my carefully controlled calm demeanour was shattered. My mate pointed out to me the horror of what was happening: "they're queueing" he said. I could not believe my ears. "You don't queue in pubs!" I replied. But looking round I saw that what he said was true. People lining up despite the length of the bar. Is this what the world has come to? In the country god chose to bring beer to perfection in people are now abandoning our beer culture and traditions. I know it's a bleedin' bar but pub rules still apply, so it shouldn't be treated like a grocery shop!

The horror, the horror

I did of course join the queue. I'm British after all. But fortunately my mate got served without having to queue so the shame and ignominy was short lived. 

Saturday 6 November 2021

Beer, beer, we want more beer

 I can get a lot of free beer from work. But does this mean I'm not interested in being sent more? Nay, nay and thrice nay! Unlike the petty bourgeois brewers whinging about beer tax being reduced I take the proletarian position that beer should be made freely available to all. Even if I don't drink it myself I can always find a fellow worker grateful for a prefigurative pint!

So when Haacht brewery offered me some beer there could be only one answer. I was slightly concerned when the box arrived though: only four beers. And one of them was a lager. Still, as they had come for free I couldn't grumble too much. 

As it turned out, I actually liked the lager. 

A bit sweet, but still crisp and without any unpleasant vegetable aromas, a surprisingly good start from Haacht. 

The Super 8 IPA was what you'd expect from a Belgian IPA. Let's just say it wouldn't be winning any games of frogger. 

The spicy Super 8 Flandrien was more on the ball, though again I'd have preferred it if they'd cranked it up a bit ...

... which I also thought about the Tongerlo Brown, a pleasant enough dubbel which left me looking for a tripel. 

All of Haacht's offerings went down easily enough but seemed a bit restrained to me. Does this mean I'm turning craftie?