How did it all start?
It all started around age 19/20, when a good friend of mine said something to the effect of: “You know, all that Guinness and whatever is all well and good ‘n’ all, my young apprentice, but what you really want is some London Pride.”
I’d previously been indoctrinated by my Dad into thinking that a carefully-poured pint of Guinness was the finest beverage that a chap could drink, so this was a brave step.
First impressions were “ok, that’s pretty tasty”, and from then on I made it my business to find “real ale” whenever I was in a pub or supermarket.
Fast-forward to June 2010, and I started this blog as a means of recording fairly light-hearted tasting notes, not really knowing a great deal about the brewing process, styles, or beer culture.
I’ve deliberately retained the overall feel of the blog as “layman’s terms” – I’m not that good at summoning vast numbers of adjectives or identifying lots of flavours in great detail, but that’s not really the point. This is purely for enjoyment, and a couple of people have told me that it’s useful for those who aren’t really experts who are trying to learn a little more about it – which is a nice compliment.
What is the attraction of craft beer?
For me, as a creative person, I love the idea of something being created for spiritual reasons – which for me is simply another way of saying “for the right reasons”. Not for mass-marketing or money-making – for the sheer satisfaction and joy of creating something that you want to share with other people. Quite apart from that, because craft beer is created (on the whole) from superior ingredients and in smaller batches, with more personal attention that a large corporation could muster, the results boast infinitely more flavour and effervescence that mass-produced beer could. So, quite simply, it tastes better, and more interesting.
Again, because I’m a creative type, eyecatching custom artwork and presentation also appeals to me.
The term “craft beer” is controversial, and has connotations associated with the American small-brewery revolution, but it works for me. “Real ale” is for me an outdated term and an outdated concept, with special values that I don’t particularly care for any more, and craft beer isn’t as restrictive.
For anyone wanting a starting point, a while back I produced my personal Top 10 – see here – which also contains a quick and fairly amateurish guide to beer styles.