The Five Best Developments in Beer

Discussion in 'Wheelman's Website Forum' started by Wheelman, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. The Five Best Developments in Beer Over the Last Decade

    1. Extreme Beer - The rise of beers with high alcohols, massive hopping rates and all manner of unusual ingredients and brewing methods has opened up the range of beer flavours unlike anything seen or tasted before, which is obviously great news for anyone who likes variety in life.

    2. Popularity - More people drinking more flavourful beer is not only good news in and of itself, but a great portent for the future. And with 11% growth in craft beer reported in the United States for the first half of this year, things are only getting better.

    3. Beer in Nontraditional Brewing Countries - As the craft beer renaissance rolls steadily onward, its effects are being felt in many nations not traditionally associated with beer, such as Italy and Japan, both now home to some excellent breweries. Besides being a boon to thirsty travellers the world over, these new brewing ventures are bringing character-filled ales and lagers to lands formerly and utterly dominated by pale, largely tasteless lagers.

    4. The Belgian Revival - From its status as a virtual "beer nirvana," the mightily brewing land of Belgium looked a few years ago in danger of slipping down to second tier status within the world of beer, largely due to the considerable muscle being flexed by the bigger breweries. But although the fight is still far from won, thanks to a handful of plucky brewers, diversity and excitement is back in "Het Bierland."

    5. Beer Service - Although it's still an area sadly in need of improvement, beer service is slowly getting better in bars and, especially, restaurants around the globe. And so long as beer aficionados keep up the pressure by demanding well-served beer in room temperature glasses, even while dining at fine restaurants, the hospitality industry will start to get the message.

    The Five Worst Developments in Beer Over the Last Decade

    1. Extreme Beers - In the hands of a responsible brewer and educated consumers, these big, bold and audacious brews are a joy, as noted above. But when attempted purely for reasons of being bigger or hoppier or weirder than everything else on the market, they're at best scary and, at worst, gastronomic disasters.

    2. InBev and the Rest - With international brewery consolidation running rampant, breweries are being closed and brands either discontinued or "dumbed down" like seldom seen before. For moving Hoegaarden out of the town that gave the famed wheat beer its name and taking Boddingtons out of Manchester, InBev wins the dubious recognition of being the worst offender in this regard.

    3. The Fight for Shelf Space - With ever bigger breweries comes ever increasing pressure on retailers to devote more space to the big-name brands, thus sacrificing space that might otherwise go to small brewery brands. And I'm afraid that we've only seen the tip of the iceberg yet in this regard.

    4. Poseur Brews - The success of craft-brewed beers on the market has brought with it a host of "wannabe" brews either developed by bigger breweries seeking to capitalize on the craft cachet or pretenders devised by marketers who know nothing of beer or brewing. The world could use a good culling of these.

    5. Snobbery - It was inevitable, I suppose, but as craft-brewed beer has become more refined and rarified, it has spawned a breed of individuals truly deserving of the term "beer snob." These are not souls in pursuit of good beer, but people for whom only the rarest/hoppiest/strongest beers will do, and who think that anyone willing to settle for less isn't worthy on the malt required to brew the beer. Honestly, it's sometimes enough to make a person want to scream "Come on, folks, it's just beer!"

    - Stephen Beaumont


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