A few weeks ago I mentioned that BrewDog were taking a second stab at raising funds for expansion via their “Equity for Punks” share issue.  Last time round in 2009 they only achieved a third of what they required, however this issue is going a lot better and they have already raised £1m towards their £2.2m target in just 2 weeks.  They expect to raise the full amount by the end of August.  It just shows what difference a change in the economy can make, and how more people are willing invest when your profile has been raised as much as theirs over the last two years.

However the bigger news from the past couple of weeks is that the UK’s largest privately owned brewer Wells and Young, is being bought out by Charles Wells Ltd in its entirety after they purchased the 40% of the business they did not own.   This means that after 180 years of brewing history, Youngs and Co, the minority partners in partnership, have left the brewing business, leaving them to concentrate on the pub side of the trade.  The joint brewing operation was created in 2006 when the two companies merged.

Interestingly its only this week I tried a couple of the Wells and Youngs beers for the first time inadvertently.  The first was Mongoose, a smooth beer based on an original Indian recipe.  At 5%, the beer is nice on the taste buds without anything jumping out at you. It doesn’t really stand out when compared to many beers I have sampled this year, however it is a beer I would happily drink again.

The second, Kirin Ichiban, the Japanese beer brewed under license by them, is a very drinkable beer, slightly dry in my opinion, but not in a negative way. With citrus flavours and a golden colour, finishing typically for a beer from that area of the world cleansing the palette but not lingering too long.   Not as dry as Asahi, but on a par for flavour.  While on the Japanese theme, I also had chance to try Sapporo which comes in a 660ml distinctive ribbed can. With a similar taste having slightly weaker flavours than Kirin Ichiban, this again is a very drinkable beer, although with a rice note in aroma this time.  Of the two the Kirin is the better beer, with both being available at local Tesco stores now along with Asahi Super Dry.

Closer to home, those of you with long memories will remember me mentioning ? pint glasses or “schooners” which will be allowed in pubs from October.  Heineken, a brewery not known for its small breweries, as those with slightly shorter memories will recall from a few weeks ago, have become the first major brewer to announce the introduction of the smaller glasses for three of it core brands (Heineken, Amstel and Cobra).   I’m sure they will not be the last, and I hope that smaller breweries take up this idea as well.

My logic for this is simple, we in Calderdale are spoilt for choice with pubs which have 5+ ale pumps, often with a good number of rotating guest beers.  If driving you are limited to at most 2 beers at 4 – 4.7%, and a half is sometimes not enough to appreciate a beer.  These glasses would allow you sample an extra beer on your visit whilst consuming the same volume of liquid and giving you enough drink to appreciate each beer.  It goes to show that government ideas are not always bad, merely most of the time.

While discussing the giants of the brewing world, there seems to be fight of epic proportions brewing between SAB Miller and Fosters, with the former launching a hostile takeover of Fosters after being knocked back following an official offer to the board.  At the time of writing Fosters were fighting the hostile approach vigorously.  However as it is with hostile takeovers, the first offer generally just tests the water, there will be more higher offers to come.

To end where we started this week, it is good to see BrewDog making the front page last week after spending the last year on page 15.  Conformity is not always a bad thing, but in the case of CAMRA, they are getting too stuck in their ways and should embrace a wider definition of ale.

On that note, happy supping to you all.