It’s that time of the bastardin’ year again when after many IPA’s, stouts, Imperial beers, sours & every special-batch-infused-with-something comes about & beer writers/bloggers/podcasters/video makers hand out their favorite imaginary award for ‘Best of the year’ in a flurry of aplomb, praise & thankfulness. And, HopAddiktion.com will be no different; hop torpedo’d on top of that bandwagon, riding it til the wheels fall off.
Craft beer drinkers are one of the single most spoiled consumer groups out there in Ireland right now. We’ve new beers appearing at what feels like every week that we can try, discuss, cogitate, digest & ruminate on. You’d be forgiven for thinking that craft brewers get arough deal in this, but every craft beer drinker I know has ‘go-to’ beers. Including this hopped up, opinionated assjockey of a beer blogger.
Beer ratings. Whether it’s RateBeer, Untappd, BeerAdvocate or the ratings given by beer journos or bloggers/podcasters, Beer Ratings I think today are now due a proper discussion. A come-to-jesus-meeting type discussion.
I was recently reading a blogpost by a long standing follower of mine going way back to my podcast days, Myles Lambert which was titled ’20 Most Important Craft Beers…. on my journey.’ Over 2,000 different beers later, it got me thinking hard about my own journey through craft beer which really only started in 2001 despite growing up in a house where homebrewing was done regularily. And these when I think about it, are the 20 craft beers that even today are firm favorites that have influenced my tastes even now.
With the new bill to allow craft breweries & distillers to sell their own produce on-site without acquiring a bar license a mere handful of bureaucratic footsteps away, & in sight breweries like Hope Beer in Kilbarrick in Howth, County Dublin are excited & already in the process of putting together their taproom to complete theirpiece of the puzzle like so many other craft brewers in Ireland. So, I took this opportunity to take a visit to see Hope’s brewery, check out the taproom & catch up with my old drinking buddy, their headbrewer Mark Nixon.
Murkbombs. Pint o’Murk. New England IPA. NEIPA. Murkbier. Cloudybeer. Whatever you wanna call it, New England style IPA’s are popping up everywhere. If you’re a brewer, you want a piece of the sales action on this style right now. And if you are already as a brewer, kudos to you. It’s good for business. But, I’m just not down with the haze-craze. I was over it before it even began.
One of the great things about being a beer enthusiast is how easy it is to visit independent micro breweries at your leisure on your own country. It’s a heck of alot easier than wine afficianados, who unless they live in a wine producing country, they’ve a fair amount of travel. There are many reasons I like visiting breweries, & believe it or not, tasting beers for me is actually not anywhere near the top of the reasons on my list. Meeting/catching up with the people at breweries is the single best part of those reasons to visit for me. On a miserable day in the usually sunny south east, I took a trip to Wexico City to visit Yellowbelly.
It is no secret of my love of the craft beer revolution in the U.S.. Inthe past I’ve been rightfully accused of being harsh with Irish craft brewers for being too placid about macros coming in to eat their lunch before they’ve even finished making it. Irish Craft Brewers in the last two years have in my mind made the fastest global jump in quality & ingenuity of any craft beer scene. And I’ve made no secret either of both my admiration & my happiness. But, this week pride was added to that list. We (Ireland), beat the Americans to the chase. And that I believe now provides a unique opportunity to take the fight to macro on a scale never before seen in craft beer.
We are officially one year on the interwebz unleashing our own IBU powered, hopped up OpEd, Beer Reviews & Vermont IPA hazed ramblings on craft beer in Ireland. Obviously not doing this for the money or free beer, but because we love to share in the journey & people of the scene & the conversation, antics & shenanigans of the scene with those who regularly or irregularly check out our wee corner of the beeriverse online.
Between swallowing up craft brewers with bags of money, locking out taps, closing off distribution loops & closing routes of access to raw materials, you’d think Big Beer couldn’t stoop any lower. But, like all beer produced by men in suits around a board table, new lows in the pursuit of market domination are the order of the day. Enter Diageo’s Guinness with a whole new low.
Every time Ellon’s team post a blog about a new BrewDog bar opening, the comments generally become littered with mention of Dublin and or Belfast. Sure, BrewDog are opening up bars all across the UK, Italy & every other mannerof exotic place you can stick your dirty, greasy, hop covered thumb on, & over the last few months Dublin has gone from being ‘coming soon’ to not being mentioned by BrewDog at all any more on these announcements. Some, including myself thought it was because BrewDog has given up on trying for Dublin. It seems we were wrong.
Selling out. Buying-in. Value this. Value that. Impatience. Private Equity. Big Beer. It’s a never ending circle of good-beer-loving-folk beating the shit out of each other over something outside their control that’s pointless, right? It is just beer after all? Why is there even a fuss over craft breweries selling to Big Beer Inc? Who cares? The arguments get deeper, more frequent & it’s all leading somewhere a little too familiar.