Monday, 25 June 2012

Booze: Nate Dawg vs. Craft Beer


I like beer. I like real ale. I like macro-lagers. I like craft beer. I like keg beer. I like cask ale. I like bottled beer. I like canned beer. I like beer.

The issue I have is that craft beer is full of shit.

Here are some of my feelings towards craft beer:

1)      Barrel Ageing
 
Don’t get me wrong I like some barrel aged beers but now it seems that every fucker is doing it and it’s no longer niche. Brewdog Paradox is great. I’ve had paradox poured from a wooden barrel, it’s beautiful but the issue is that everyone’s copying that kind of thing and making it so limited that nobody will ever get to fucking drink it anyway. Another thing is the price of them. I appreciate that it can’t be cheap to buy old whisk(e)y casks but Brewdog just released Tokyo* Rising Sun which is a barrel aged version of the first ever batch of Tokyo*. Sounds cool, right? Well my issue is that this is beer that they apparently literally forgot they had sitting in the barrel only to discover it 4 years later. Sounds cool, right? Yeah, it is if you want to spend £25 on a bottle of beer that was probably meant to be sold 3 years ago at half the fucking price. It probably tastes like vinegar, I don’t know as I’ve not seen any reports on it nor will I ever buy a bottle. Everyone’s doing it. It’s not special.

Nate Dawg’s Verdict: Barrel ageing is now boring and too expensive for everyone. You need to find something else like ageing it inside a rotting whale’s stomach… Whales are big enough to hold a decent batch that everyone can have a bottle of.

2)      One-Time-Only Beers

“Hey, guess what? We just brewed such an amazing beer. It’s so amazing that there’s only actually one keg in existence and it’s going to be at <insert bar name> here tomorrow night, come along!”

This is a really good idea. No, really; it’s fucking genius. Only allow the people who live in said town or have money for private helicopters or stupidly expensive on the day train fares drink your absolutely amazing beer.

Seriously. I’m not rich. I can’t afford to just jump on a train purely to get one beer (and literally only one, they probably don’t even let people have more than one third – I wouldn’t know as I never get to fucking go.)

Nate Dawg’s Verdict: Do it all you like. These one time only beers are actually a great idea – just give me some fucking notice so I can get to the goddamn bar.

3)      High ABV Beers

“Oh look. This is high percentage. Anything under 5.6% is weak and is for girls. We’ve made this one so bitter that we hope girls don’t like it. If guys don’t like it, they’re a CAMRA member.”

Nate Dawg’s Verdict: Low percentage beers can be flavoursome too.

4)      Low(er) ABV Beers

“Oh dear. We’re terribly sorry for what we said about beers under 5.6% being for girls and CAMRA members so we’re going to make it up to you and brew a flavoursome beer at 3% to prove that we are all round awesome. LOOK MUM, ARE YOU PROUD OF US?”
  
Nate Dawg’s Verdict: Christ. Stop trying so hard to prove yourself. People like your beers but you’re just trying to prove that you’re not horrible and totally against people who like weaker beers. Yes, you have to cater to the whole market but don’t make such a big deal out of it. Also, when brewers who generally don't brew low(er) ABV beers decide to brew one, they usually turn out to be really unbalanced and not too pleasant.

5)      Exporting Beer

“We just shipped off our first pallet of beer to <insert country here> today” – Cool. Good for you.

One thing, though: When I asked you about getting some of your beers in Norwich and when I’ve spoken to local landlords who have enquired about buying some of your beer for their wonderful pubs you told them that Norwich is too fucking far. Yeah, Norwich is too far? You’re sending beer to Sweden for fuck’s sake.

Sort out potential customers in your own country before trying to conquer the world.

Nate Dawg’s Verdict: I respect that some brewers are still only small and can’t deliver everything by hand but there are distribution companies around and it can’t be that expensive to arrange, surely? I know that a local pub/micro-brewery owner has a deal with another fairly national brewer who has the means to distribute beers so that he can get his beers to places other than Norfolk – It’s a straight up trade-off too, beer for beer! I also know another local brewer who will happily just shove a cask of ale in the boot of his car to take to a pub if he happens to be going that way. There are ways to nationalise your beers without needing a 20,000 barrel operation.

6)      Beer Snobbery

I fucking hate snobs, I really do. In any scenario – whether it’s clothing snobs who won’t shop at Primark because their clothes don’t have tiny fucking penguin for a logo or supermarket snobs who will only shop at Waitrose because that twat Delia Smith endorses it.

Beer snobs are probably even worse.

I’m happy to call myself a beer geek, as are many others but what some people may not realise (or realise and choose not to acknowledge) is that they’re straight up snobs.

I will recommend people beers until the cows come home but I would never have a go at someone for drinking a beer that they like which is something that has happened to me frequently. Obviously in this instance I am talking about my love for what you’d call “Macro-lager” but indeed it has happened with good quality lager too.

Even now that I have developed what can only really be called a reputation as a beer geek who loves Carling, people try to convince me not to drink it. Deal with it. I'm not waterboarding you, shouting "DRINK CARLING!" in your face. Fuck you.

Nate Dawg’s Verdict: Fuck you, beer snobs. There’s really no need for it. By all means, try to influence someone to drink a beer that you like and you think they might like but telling someone not to drink <insert beer here> because it’s shit is wrong. Sort it out.


I love craft beer but Christ Almighty, it makes me angry sometimes. 

I'd be interested to know your opinions.

Nate

28 comments:

  1. Your views on craft beer all seem to be based on the activities of one single brewery. Other breweries do all these things, and in many cases do them better than BrewDog.

    Cantillon Gueuze aged in stainless steel conicals? No thanks: I'll have the boring barrel-aged one please.

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    1. There are things I've seen from quite a few breweries lately that have spawned this post. Yes, one particular brewery may do a lot of these things (if not all) but I'm not the kind of person to go full pelt bitching at one brewery!

      I'm not saying that Barrel ageing doesn't work, not at all... I'm just saying that it's being overdone. It's boring in that sense. Barrel ageing beers works sometimes but let's not mention the brewery who decided to barrel age a lager for 6 months...

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  2. Ok, gotta take issue with you on some points there buddy.
    Point One, ageing. Totes agree mon Kapitan, waste of money unless you're ageing a Lambic!

    Point Two, One time beers. Tough, if you don't live in the right place, move. ;)

    Point 3. High ABV beers. No issue, agreement for the 2nd time, wtf?

    Point 4, Low ABV beers. I agree that some low abv can be over bitter, unbalanced and fucking horrible but Redemption Trinity is one of my fave beers, perfect beer.

    Point 5, Exporting Beer. Yes actually shipping beers around the same country can be expensive too but not as expensive as exporting them to a diff country, agree with you again.

    Point 6, Beer Snoberry. With you there too, fucking hate it, especially when the beer snob actually turns out to know NOTHING!

    Shoulda just written me own fucking blog.

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    1. My real issue with One time beers is that they don't announce these events enough... as if they think 30,000 people are going to flood into the bar like little girls at a JLS concert.

      I agree with you on redemption Trinity. Fucking awesome.

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  3. Wow. Way to have a rant!

    Seriously though, I understand and agree with some of your points - to some extent. A lot of what you're talking about is hype, marketing and bullsh*t really isn't it?

    It was far easier to have a go at certain large breweries for making low ABV mediocre beer than to beat them at their own game by making hugely tasty ones. There have been breweries quietly making great low ABV beers along, just a few noisy ones have recently jumped on that particular bandwagon.

    But by quietly getting on with what you do best, you don't get the column inches, you don't trend on twitter and you don't land a huge supermarket deal.

    It's by being able to make controversial beers, one offs and creating some hype around what you do that you get noticed.

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    1. Thanks... I do try.

      I personally think quiet marketing can work... marketing where you don't look like a complete and utter arsehole. Marketing where you don't have to be the biggest to get popular then apologise because you've offended someone.

      There are some great breweries that are getting big just by making great beers, being awesome and socially interactive.

      The one-offs aren't my problem, it's just the lack of publicity surrounding them. I mean, it's great for people who live in that locale but what about the rest of us?

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  4. Excellent. Beer world is turning into the wine world with all the same marketing tricks being recycled - shit and glitter as my Dad would say. And along with the whole snobbery bit. I worry that the snobbery will put people off eventually. Every wine buff I've met turned out to be a complete tit and a show-off. A lot of beer people are going the same way.

    As for macro lager, I tweeted about having a Stella last night - no *craft* beer available - and got a whole load of shite. One bloke called me feeble and suggested I make 40 mile round trip to an offy.

    I think a lot of people agree with you. Unfortunately, there is a big industry being built around it so it ain't going away.

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    1. You just gotta drink what you like and tell people to go fuck themselves.

      I wrote a post just after I started gaining a beery following on twitter because people gave me shit for drinking Carling. What the fuck? Sort it out. http://www.boozebeatsbites.com/2012/04/booze-crap-lager.html

      People do agree with me but (especially) bloggers are too worried about what others think and scared of pissing off breweries. I'm voicing my own opinion, people don't have to agree with me; hell, i don't give a fuck whether or not people agree with me but I'm willing to listen/read what they have to say!

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  5. Agree with you mate but I have no objection to limited/one time only brews. What I do object to is the smug gits (and this is mainly a US thing, sorry any US readers but it is) going on about how astonishingly amazingly superbly wonderful the beer is. Well, I'll never know so I don't actually care. I do often wonder whether they are so fantastic? Does rarity add imagined flavour? With apologies to Craft Beer Radio, can you taste the 'rare'? Why are there so many 'rare' beers in top 50s? I'm inclined to think that they have been given inflated marks because having paid a ridiculous amount/ queued up for two weeks to obtain it then a huge amount of pride would have to be swallowed to say, against everyone else, 'actually, this is just sort-of ok'.

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    1. Mate, I 100% agree with you and it's exactly the same thing as I think it was Hardknott Dave was talking about... just reversed. Shit tastes better when it's free..

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  6. 1) Yeah everyone is doing it, none are really worth the price. TRS isn't worth £25 but I bought some and wrote some words about it here http://feedthetramp.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/tokyo-rising-sun/

    2) This does my nut in, recently someone had a beer that was only for one event and for beer bloggers. Well email the people you have invited and stop telling everyone else on Twitter and Facebook about an awesome beer they can't have.

    3)&4) Don't really notice this.

    5} Come one, you have to go through the Netherlands to get to Norwich from Aberdeen http://goo.gl/maps/bsys

    6) Death To All Humans!!!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your review, enjoyed reading it... Tokyo* Rising Sun does not seem to be the beer for me, either version!

      The "HAHA YOU WISH YOU COULD BE HERE" factor is what really does it for me. Fair enough, these one keg/cask launches might but fun but they're not convenient.

      Oh yeah, Norwich is forever away from Aberdeen/Yorkshire/Wherever elee.

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  7. I think the point about Beer Snobbery is the most pertinent. Beer has such humble beginings I feel it's doing it an injustice to try to elevate it into a niche, luxury product or to hammer others to boredom about why they should drink such-and-such a beer.

    But it's a fine line to tread. It's very easy to become a bar bore and this is something that CAMRA has always struggled to avoid. And with the "campaign" for "real ale" surely now won they are looking rather pointless at the moment. (my suggestion? Become the campaign for widening people's beer appetites) That said the Craft Beer movement doesn't seem to have quite tapped this as well........

    Give me a low abv session bitter anytime over oak-bark beer brewed in a horses nose-bag, served with gold flakes.

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    1. You're right, that is the biggest point of beer - not just craft beer. Beer snobboery. It's really not necessary.

      Good point about CAMRA too although they haven't won until they've stopped the beer duty esclator...

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    2. Give me a low abv session bitter anytime over oak-bark beer brewed in a horses nose-bag, served with gold flakes.
      Isn't this just beer snobbery in reverse? I would try the nose-bag beer, and the session bitter, before expressing a preference.

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    3. Isn't this just beer snobbery in reverse? I guess I may have to take that one on the chin.........but I think the point I was trying to make is still valid.

      There seems to be an over-riding obsession with some brewers (and note I say "some") where the effort is put into brewing something with a USP (sorry, I spanked myself when using that) rather than getting back to basics and creating a standard range of styles that taste good.

      The weird and wonderful do have their place but not as a replacement for beer staples.

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    4. For me it boils down to: lots of brewers make beer I don't want to drink. In that bracket there's shitty adjunct lager, high-octane mega-hopped brett-bombs, and much else besides. I think it's wrong to generalise away whole swathes of the brewing industry just because they either a) play to the mass market or b) pull weird stunts that are more about tabloid coverage than flavour.

      If you're unable to find beer staples, you're drinking in he wrong places. They haven't been replaced at all, from what I can see.

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  8. I agree on number of the points!

    But then again... such is life. :S

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  9. I'm shocked at how many people do actually agree with most of my points.

    I guess they just didn't want to say it themselves...

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  10. So where THE FUCK can I get some of this mystical Redemption Trinity?! Guess what! They don't even ship, unlike most of the breweries you were slagging, which would happily deliver, not to your local perhaps, but to your DOOR.

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    1. I've never seen Redemption Trinity outside of London I'm afraid. I believe I had it in The Euston Tap.

      Oh yeah, I knew most of these breweries will deliever bottles directly to me and I buy from them quite frequently but what I'm talking about is cask/kegs.

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  11. I have also noticed beer snobbery on the increase. I guess it is inevitable with the growth of the craft beer scene. Hell, even the local little beer shop is cliquey. The owner actually "hides" the rarer or small batch run beers out the back for his regular customers. This really annoys me. How the hell is the stuff ever going to gain popularity if only the same people buy it.
    Anyway, good points raised Nate. All beer is good in my opinion, just some are better than others. Let's not try to over complicate things.

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    1. Your local beer shop owner actually does that? Wow. That's ridiculous.

      Cheers for the comment!

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    2. I don't think so; you need to have some way to reward your most frequent customers and if you only have a small number of a certain beer available its easier to keep out the back.

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    3. Yes but you've also got those customers who will do a 40 mile round trip to get to a bottle shop.

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  12. Redemption Trinity was at Norwich BF last year, and could well be there again this..

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