Thursday, 23 April 2009

If you had to...

Here’s a question to see where your beer allegiance lies.

I’ve had a lot of really excellent British beer this year. The most memorable being: Thornbridge’s Jaipur, Bracia and Handel; Dark Star’s Six Hop; Fuller’s London Porter and their Vintage; BrewDog’s Punk IPA, Storm and Tokyo. Most of the recent bottles that I’ve bought are from the US and some of the best beers I’ve had, period, are from the US: AleSmith IPA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, anything by Stone, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Pliny the Elder. And then there have been some brilliant European beers, some Mikkellers, an earth-moving Struise Black Albert and classics like Chimay Blue and Rochefort 10.

So I’ve enjoyed excellent beer from three main regions: the UK, the US and Europe. And here’s the question… You can only drink beer from one of these three regions for the rest of your drinking days, where will your beer be coming from? The UK, the US or Europe? (Or, if you must be troublesome, you can select the rest of the world to include everywhere that isn’t the UK, US or Europe. And before any smart-arse says, I know the UK is in Europe, just play along, you know what I mean)

26 comments:

  1. I'm going to say the UK. Everything that I could want I can get from here, plus it'll be fresh. If I want a mild it's there, a massive stout I can find it and if I need a hop fix then there's a lot of choice. Go UK!!

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  2. This one is easy compared to your others. UK every time. Widest variety and greatest form of dispense. Makes you proud.

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  3. That's a tough one Mark. Oh, and you could specify Eurozone or something, so pedants like me won't be tempted :D

    I think I'd go for Europe, and not just because of dear old Ireland or new home Germany. I guess although there wouldn't be quite as many "extreme" or cutting edge beers as the US, the Belgians and the new wave of Czech micros that I keep hearing about would probably keep me satisfied in those departments, while, yeah, I guess I'll even say that the Germans would keep a good base level going to reset now and again. I would miss my good English Ales, but then I've been pretty well doing without for a year now anyway! I'd like to think there's just so much choice around Europe I'd be able to drink new stuff every day for the rest of my life. If only I could get more of it more easily! Screw it, I'd just keep homebrewing to fill the gaps like i do now :D

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  4. Sleeping Scooper23 April 2009 21:06

    If I had access to every beer brewed in the USA, at USA prices, I'd say USA. If I have to rely on current availability and prices, it would be UK.

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  5. I can't answer the question. My three favorite beer nations are US, England & Germany. In no particular order. If I don't have access to all of them, I'm &^%^$%#!

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  6. This is easier than some of your others! I'm going to have to go with UK beers, we have such a variety of styles and brewers, I'm pretty sure I would never want for anything else!

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  7. Some quick responses tonight... And some mixed ones - is it an easy or a hard question?! If you think it's easy then I'll try harder next time!

    I'm tempted to agree with Sleeping Scooper, but then sometimes only a few sessionable pints of quality cask will do.

    Brad and Pete, I salute you and your proud patriotism, especially as it's St. George's Day.

    Adeptus, homebrew was NOT an option! Jump off the fence :) There is a lot of choice in Europe but is there the same choice in the variety of styles available as there is in the UK and US? I'm curious...

    Wurst, I need your answer! You can only have one.

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  8. Damn you. I've been using homebrew to fill the gap in hoptastic US pale ales and really roasty, toaty stouts that I miss :D

    Well, on a recent trip to Brussels I was delighted to have the likes of V Cense and Zinne Bir, both of which took a leaf (or cone!) from the US hop book, so there's certainly that side of the beer world to be found on mainland Europe. The likes of Cosmos Porter, which was just astounding, and of course the sheer range of ales and beautiful Lambics means, to me, one could nearly take Belgium on it's own, but it does miss out on a good proportion of sessionable stuff. I guess Germany fills that gap, but Germany also has lots of hidden gems, and if people feel the need for cask conditioned beers, that can be done too (Dusseldorf, Cologne, Frankenland anyone?). Then of course the Czech tradition, and the new wave of micros, and let's not forget some incredible and interesting beers coming from Scandanavia. I was never on the fence I guess. If I made home brews, they'd just be European interpretations of a beer normally made elsewhere :D But to be clear, Europe. Long traditions, new stuff, broader scope, multi-culti, more beer. And schnitzel.

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  9. Good answer Adeptus, makes me want to do a bit of European beer travelling! And what about Italy?! I hear good things from there too.

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  10. I heard interesting things about Italy a few months ago. I was in Turin a while back but ended up drinking "English" ales (I think they were Dutch really) in the first bar I found 'cause it was pissing rain and I was tired. But, from talking to the locals I was working with, and asking about these amazing beers in fancy bottles I had read about, they seemed to think they were over-priced and too sweet. Frankly I would have preferred to try them myself, but it does appear that there are interesting things happening. I just have no experience of them, so I couldn't say. Should I say I like Moretti? :D

    I think Evan Rail has written about the new Italian beer movement.

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  11. No question about this one... the UK is definitely where the interesting stuff is happening - we INVENTED extreme beer with the IPA style, brewers like Thornbridge and Brewdog continue to innovate on an almost weekly basis to keep up with the most demanding and diverse drinkers in the world - want a spiced berry mild? no problem! An easy drinking thirst-quencher packed full of flavour? no problem! A malty best bitter? No problem! A raspberry milk-stout? No problem! The list goes on and on... so say it loud and say it proud... THE UK RULES!!

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  12. Go Garrett! Spoken like a hero :D And if you've got any raspberry milk stout on then let me know right away!!

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  13. Regarding IPA, sorry, can't resist :D

    http://tinyurl.com/cvsax2
    http://tinyurl.com/ddeyh2

    Extreme now (thanks to the US maybe?), bit not then? ;)

    Mark, did you really have to post such a topic on St. George's Day? :D

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  14. Michael Elliott24 April 2009 12:21

    Six months ago, I wouldn't have thought twice before going for the UK. In fact, I'd experienced hardly any beer from elsewhere. Recently, though, I've found both the opportunity and the inclination to become a fan of several American brewers, like Anchor, Rogue, Great Divide and Brooklyn. Also, I seem to find it inordinately difficult to get hold of British IPAs, whereas they seem to be all over the US. More to the point, I'm not 100% sure I could face the prospect of never again having a Stone Imperial Russian Stout.

    If you were able to guarantee me easy access to a wide range of US beer, Mark, I'd be facing a tough decision. But, since that's probably not within your power, it's got to be the UK. Luckily, we have the BrewDogs here, which would compensate to some degree for the loss of the American Imperial Stouts, Double IPAs, and so on.

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  15. I'd have to go with Britain, otherwise I'd be a bit stuck down the pub! As has been said, some British brewers are now doing American style craft beer so I suppose I'd miss having Belgian beers the most as I don't think you can get British made equivalents.

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  16. I've just thought, maybe I need to add some details... Whatever you choose you get good access to it, so if you are in London and choose US then whenever you go to the pub it'll be like walking into a US bar. The supermarkets will be lined with Pabst, Miller and Coors instead of Fosters and Carlberg, etc, etc... Does this change anything?!

    Adeptus, I know what you mean, I've written something about IPAs and what the name means now which I'll put up sometime, but it's changed into a new beast! And you can say you like Moretti. In terms of Italian craft stuff I've only had a strong IPA from ReAle - very nice tho! I think Thornbridge are collaborating with Birrifico Italian (sp?!).

    Michael, I CAN guarantee you this easy access, that's part of the power of coming up with questions like this! I'd struggle to give up anything from Stone, but as you say, thank god for BrewDog and a few of the other breweries doing a similar thing!

    Ed, I don't think it will be long before Belgian-style beers are brewed in the UK. It's such a short hop over that it's surprising more brewers haven't done it yet. Thornbridge's Handel is Belgian-style and brilliant, and Dark Star's Saison is good too. Could be the start of new things... And someone's got to get some British wild beers out there soon, don't they?!

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  17. I'm sure I've seen a British beer claiming to be in the lambic style but it was the cherryade type not the real type. Can't remember the breweries name though.

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  18. I took your advice at Utobeer today, bought BrewDog Tokyo, Speedball (to see what all the fuss was about), Paradox, Thornbridge Bracia and a Jaipur too.

    Then I went for a cheeky pint at The Rake. They had Stone Brewing Co's Arrogant Bastard on tap so I thought it would be rude not to partake. My first try of their beers, i quite liked it but it was a bit hardcore for me. A pint was managable but any more and the hops would have just got cloying.

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  19. Good shop mate, an expensive one tho with those three big stouts (totally worth it)! Which Paradox did you get?

    Arrogant bastard is just that. It's certainly not a session beer. I've only had the oaked version and there's a lot going on in it. I'm still undecided on it.

    Let me know how you like the beers.

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  20. it is a hard one, but nepotism alone would force me to say UK. I do love US beer, but there's a lot of crap us beer out there. it may be more fashionable, but some of it really is dogshit.

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  21. Because most of the decent UK and Euro craft stuff we get in Australia comes via the States I'm going US for reasons of freshness. Plus, in keeping with the fantasy of the exercise, I can then get Wurst to smuggle a few UK imports in with my order as it passes through customs.

    Sierra Navada Pale Ale and the Rogue beers probably tip the scales in favour of the Stars & Stripes, coupled with the fact that, historically, England has only ever sent to Australia the stuff it didn't want!

    Convicts Rule!!!!

    Cheers
    Prof. Pilsner

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  22. Leigh, there's a lot of crap UK beer too!

    Prof., good answer, Go Convicts! Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a superb beer, I try to always keep one or two in the fridge.

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  23. I would have to go with the US, and not just because the missus is from the States but because of the huge variety of styles and producers over there.

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  24. This one is easy, if sad-- I would go with the US. There is just so much fantastic beer out there, pushing boundaries. Though, if I were back in the US I probably wouldn't even be blogging, because it would be that kind of satori. I guess I blog because I'm looking for that sense of satisfaction here in the UK!

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