I was going to use “Brewdog Stoke” as the title of this post, in fact I may still list it as a tag to see how much the search term is used out of interest. This was to try and gauge how many people particularly from the Stoke and surrounding areas would sit up and take notice if that started popping up on twitter, Facebook and Google search results. Craft keg, in Stoke, surely not?
Instead I used a quote or a slightly amended Twitter quote from James at Summer Wine Brewery:
This was my tongue in cheek response:
People who know me may be puzzled by my reply as they know that I love Belgian beer, in fact it was my love of their fine brews that ultimately led me to start blogging. The thing is though I am not against Belgian beer on keg, I embrace it with open arms as it deserves a place on British bars, I love to drink it and I’m sure James does too. What riles me though is the general reluctance in all but the most fashionable bars in beer centric drinking cities to put British beer on a keg line which I’m sure forms the basis of James’s point.
Can I just say here that this is not an intent to start the craft keg v cask debate again, far from it. CAMRA seem to be now at least openly considering the possibility of change in response to its increasing popularity (as written here by Tandleman). As a CAMRA member myself I obviously love cask real ale, I’d just like the opportunity to choose now and then but not have to travel 50 miles in order to make that choice.
Locally to me almost every decent pub has keg lines, I mean proper premium keg lines not those spewing out “beverages” at £1.50 a pint. We get Leffe, Staropramen, Timmermans, Blanche De Bruxelles, Babar, Budvar, St Feuillien, Gouden Carolus etc etc, I could go on and some would say we do pretty well, I’d have to agree but “why no British craft keg“!
Some of the best beer I’ve had this year was kegged, Magic Rock “High Wire”, Summer Wine’s Cohort and Saison series, Brewdog 5AM Saint and Kernel IPA all stand out as exceptional easy drinking and full flavoured beers that would shake some pubs to their very core, maybe even convert the odd lager lout along the way.
Of course I’m generalising here and speaking as it feels personally from my own back yard. We have several pubs in these parts that could bite the bullet and give it a try but seemingly won’t or can’t. I have asked the question on several occasions with varying responses, “it’s too expensive”, “people wouldn’t drink it”, “it’s not available to us”. Well it should be, make it your business to get it and stand out from a crowd as being the first, how do you know people won’t drink it if they’ve never had the opportunity?? “Stock it, people will come…”
What’s it like where you live, do you have a choice? Is it always imports or are you one of the lucky ones who gets worldwide keg including those from our own shores?
If you are one of the latter I’d love to hear how it all started for you and how it went down initially, it may come in useful in converting more folks in the area.
We need a craft beer truck, touring the UK bring new and exciting beers in keg bottles and of course cask to cities and towns across the country. It would be like that famous Coca Cola commercial that everyone comments on in early December. You’d first see it coming around the corner “Craft on Tour” in flashing neon and instantly get that warm feeling inside, Christmas has come early…
Vive la Révolution 😉
Think you gave Tandleman a promotion 😉
You’re lucky that you’re within easy travelling distance of decent keg, I’m not even within an hour of the nearest cask pub!
Oh right Steve, that’s what I thought it said on his blog, I’ll amend…
Like I tried to get across I do consider myself lucky, we have some fantastic pubs locally that sell a great range, it just frustrates me that although they can be adventurous when it comes to cask and even more so when sourcing the odd Belgian classic, British or even American keg beers are deemed to much of a risk. It’s barmy..
What we said in our response to The Grand High Poobah (Tandleman) was that we’d like to see a situation where kegged craft beer is seen as a good compliment to real ale in British pubs. We don’t want to see it replace the great cask ales we love to drink, but perhaps to knock Guinness, Leffe and Kronenbourg into touch, and appear where real ale dare not tread. (Hotels, rugby clubs, ferries, Indian restaurants.)
Exactly! As I replied to Steve I too do not want to see a decline in the standard or range of cask ales, in fact to opposite as I intend to detail in a follow up post I have planned. I like you want folks to try something new and different, so that Leffe doesn’t have to be your only choice of Belgian beer or as you’ve said knock Kronie off it’s perch. In truth I’d really like to see Czech, American etc too as real alternatives.
I realise the Craft or Tour is pie in the sky, but in a way I’d like other folks to get that feeling of enlightenment you or I have had when presented with an array of new things to try and taste in places like Craft, Cask, Mr Foleys, Port Street etc etc. I have a feeling that’s a very long way off… Cheers
Having Staropramen is a sign of doing “pretty well”? If that’s the case CAMRA needs to redouble its efforts!
Haha don’t read too much into that one, I could have gone on to list Peroni, Budweiser etc.
I suppose I was trying to be kind to the few pubs locally that do make an effort to get new, non mainstream beers when I say we don’t do too bad.
We have St Feuillien Cuvée de Noel & Babar Winterbok on at present for example, not run of the mill I’m sure you’d agree, if we can source beer like that why not Summer Wine Cohort?
I wonder sometimes how much of it has to do with a subliminal foreign = sophisticated = sexy.
There is a clothing chain in the Czech Republic called Pietro Filipi. The founders knew that if they had a foreign sounding name they would be more trendy and successful, and they have been!
You’ve probably got a point there, maybe I should be asking for Vitesse Noir, that’s sounds about right. 😉
What’s it like around your neck of the woods, similar story?
My other beef locally is the seeming reluctance to move away from the obvious breweries, we get a good range but tends to be from a well established beer list, Buxton is 30 roughly minutes drive away for example but is as rare as rocking horse shite here in Stoke as a relatively new kid on the block
Quite the opposite. I live in Virginia and basically all the beer is served from kegs, although some local brewpubs carbonate their beers naturally, using the German “spunding” method.
I recently had the opportunity to try Sierra Nevada Torpedo side by side on cask and keg. Keg was very very nice, cask was a step or two above that!
What a difference a few thousand miles makes eh? 😉
WOW! SN Torpedo on cask, now I bet that is something special!
Love the idea of the craft beer truck… I’d like to book that for my part of Staffordshire too, please! Hoppy days are comin’, hoppy days are comin’…
You’ll know from my own posts that the picture isn’t any prettier beer-wise round these parts, but there are a couple of hopeful changes taking place that may up the game – fingers crossed!
Cheers David, interesting news on the horizon then?? Keep me posted
Nothing more than a couple of new landlords moving in to Penkridge pubs at the moment, but apparently they are keen to improve their ale offerings so we’ll see how that pans out.
There’s also a beer festival planned at several of the pubs in June which might bring some more unusual offerings to the area. If the selection is good enough maybe a mini Midlands twissup could be in order… Certainly if I have anything to do with it (and I do!) there will be calls for something above and beyond the normal run of the mill.
Other than that, well, let’s just wait and see 😉