What’s Brewing, February – March, 2015 – Agony Column

Whats Brewing FebMar 15It’s been a while but these people do need help.

In February, SK of Dumfries believes that some microbreweries are ‘sneaking their product in under the radar’ due to lack of definitive terms. Indeed many of these enterprises produce NO REAL ALE! They are riding on the coat tails of the burgeoning real market apparently, ahem, I think you will find it is the other way round actually. And CAMRA’s initial raison d’être? Good beer, imho.

Many thanks to TW of Cambridge, acknowledging that post-CAMRA, over 40 years on things have changed a tad. He is certainly down with the kidz.

In March, the real ale brigade are out in force. Oh dear where to start? A nemesis of mine, DS of Chelmsford questions whether TW of Cambridge should be in CAMRA. It’s been a dilemma of mine too. Some of us prefer to foment change from within though. DJH of Woking simplifies matters, craft beer is keg beer, pressurised bright beer in fact. He clearly hasn’t had a pint of London Murky recently.

The balance is provided by IM of Aberdeen who has noticed 20-somethings enjoying fantastic beer in Brewdog bars, as anyone unblinkered will do. Why should CAMRA support Belgian and Czech beers but not artisanal UK beers?

European Beer Bloggers Conference 2014, so it was

EBBC DublinAfter such japes in Edinburgh in 2013 it was a no-brainer to sign up for 2014. And what an incentive to fulfil my credentials as a proper blogger.

Mentally I had been a blogger since the day I arrived in Edinburgh but actually, virtually, physically the blog didn’t really get off the ground very quickly. Now, the good people at Zephyr Conferences who organise the Beer Bloggers Conferences were very tolerant but they spend a lot of time getting sponsorship for these events and the sponsors do need to know they are reaching real bloggers and not just beer drinking dreamers.

Takehome message: The Beer Bloggers Conference is the best possible reason to start a beer blog.

EBBC14.Badge.100.100And 2014 saw the first conference outside the UK, in Dublin, to be sure. At that point I could name Hilden and Clearwater in the North, Porterhouse and O’Hara’s in the Free State and that was it. To be honest four competent but fairly average breweries. Guidance from Steve Lamont again proved invaluable and my solo pre-pub crawl, pub crawl yielded some fine craft beer bars and an excellent offie. L.Mulligan Grocer being the standout bar for me.

You can find all the details of EBBC14 here, I won’t bother repeating it. We learnt that monkeys are alcoholics whilst rats are binge drinkers. A lot of beer was offered, a lot of beer was drunk, in between times we learnt about the burgeoning Irish craft beer scene – and most of us were genuinely surprised at how many new breweries there were. And honestly, there were no duds. Brown Paper Bag Project, N17 and Black Donkey are just three of the 50 or so I could recommend for various reasons.

We are a grateful lot and special thanks have to go to major sponsors including the one man marketing machine that is Vaclav Berka of Pilsner Urquell, the hugely impressive tour, sampling, food and revealing Q&A at Guinness, and Beer Ireland.

To find more about Irish beer try Beoir (a sort of Irish CAMRA without the real ale hang-ups), the excellent blog by Reuben Gray who led the official pub crawl or Beer Ireland.

Why haven’t you signed up for EBBC15 yet?