I wrote last week regarding craft beer, and who qualifies as making such beers as being an impossible task.    It is easy enough to say which brewery (in our own opinion) makes really good beer most of the time, as there will almost always be a beer from a brewer that you don’t rate or get on with (for example with Brewdog, I’m not too keen on their “77 Lager”, but really like the rest of their range I have tried).  Conversely there are those that you personally avoid like a pint of Watneys Party 7, for me that is anything by Greene King.  A fellow online writerleft a comment in response to a question I posed asking people to define “real ale” and “craft beer” in 30 words each, and summed up the right answer perfectly with “Personally I define it as….” followed by 25 words of your choice.  Simple but true.The politics of beer and brewing, keg and cask, real and craft are currently under heavy debate online with everybody from brewers, trade bodies, established beer writers and the beer blogging community all putting their point of view across including myself.   Observing this, the only thing that everyone can agree on is to disagree.   Beer is a product designed for enjoyable times, it is not to be taken too seriously and there is danger of straying into that territory at the moment from all sides.

And some trade associations still seem to make some strange decisions, enforcing rules strictly with one hand, which handing plaudits to the same people who “break” those rules.  Hardknott Brewery from the Lake District entered their “Queboid” beer, an 8% Belgian Style IPA into the SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) Craft Keg festival.   The beer won a bronze medal in the festival.  The ABV for this beer was 8%.  You would have though that it was natural for the top 3 winning beers for take pride of place at the bar, as did the first place beer Freedom Organic Dark Lager and Thornbridge Versa.who won a silver medal.  But the bronze medal winner was absent from the row of pumps.  This was due to the rule that beers over 7.5% could not be served at the festival bar, not even in half or third pint measures.  For Hardknott Daves brewing partner Ann’s point of view visit here

Although the brewer in question is unsure if this was a venue or SIBA decision (update, it has been confirmed it was the venue on the basis of responsible consumption, in which case was a case of bad planning and not asking the right questions when originally booking the venue in the case of SIBA), it certainly seems to have tarnished his impression of the organisation, he openly admits that he mainly joined for access to their Direct Delivery Scheme which allows easier access to a greater number of pubs and also the chance to take part in such beer competitions as above.   Any industry needs innovators to drive it forward and develop it, brewing is no difference, and such people need support.   Trade organisations sometimes have the problem of illogical ideologies or rules they sit behind where a review is patently needed and you will find that in such bodies the rank and file members are good people, it is the people at the top who drive down the reputation of the organisation as a whole.    Just look at Fred Goodwin at RBS for a high profile example, you can’t blame Bob Smith, a cashier at the Halifax branch of Natwest for bringing down the bank, but you can blame Fred for overpaying for a foreign bank just as the recession starts to hit.

Finally this week, whilst sitting in the Ship Inn at Brighouse on Wednesday night, having a couple of nice pints I’ve not tried before, having a pleasant conversation with a fellow drinker and the bar staff,  I suddenly hear my name mentioned from the corner of the pub.  Looking over I see two bearded men reading a copy of Pubpaper (where these columns are published on weekly basis).  The conversation went like this “Who’s this Sean Liquorish” “what”  “This thoughts from the taproom” “what about it” “He writes a right bunch of shit”.  I had to stop myself from laughing out loud when the last line came out.  I’ve had plenty of feedback via comments on my blog and from people who read this column who I know, being told once to lighten up a bit in my writing.  But this is the first time I’ve experienced feedback in such a manner.  I don’t expect everyone to like every column I write (looking back there are columns I written I don’t like any more), and would be worried if they did.  But I’d rather be read and not liked than not read at all.

  1. Gareth says:

    Not particularly relevant but I seem to remember reading that BrewDog have discontinued 77 lager. Full house now? Must be craft. 😉

    • admin says:

      I had it just before xmas at sheffield tap, I saw they were asking people to help choose their core beers, but not aware they had made the cut.