Expect this list to change with time! One of the fun things about putting this together is that while I do like and drink a very wide range of beer, the number of beers that have stayed with me down the years and cemented themselves as favourites is much smaller, and does not encompass every style. These favourite beers span different chapters of my life, different sides of the Atlantic, real ale to craft beer. What they do have in common is they all have stories to tell and conjure up when I drink or think of them. Cheers!
Forty-four today. As is my custom since moving back from the States (and my annual leave therefore increasing), I'm taking the day off. In the before-times pre-COVID, I liked to pop into town, mooch around and find a quiet pub to have an interesting beer or two and contemplate the world. A few years ago I even got a small tattoo on my birthday (a maple leaf just above and behind by my inside right ankle, matching my Canadian wife's one). This year I pulled on my trainers and went for a run for the first time in six months.
Time to kick-off a series I've been thinking about for awhile now, exploring the broad concept of sustainability through the lens of alcohol production and consumption. This will span the whole system, including brewing itself, upstream and downstream supply chains, marketing and public perception etc. To begin with, I'm going to look at the example of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
Yesterday, at the request of a nearly six year old girl, we brought together seven households from Cardiff, Didcot, London, Reading, Sheffield and Winchester for a ten hour long virtual beer festival. The girl in question was missing the fun and excitement of the Reading Beer Festival and who could blame her – all the adults were too!
As much as I love drinking Thornbridge's wonderful <0.5% Zero Five Pale Ale, sometimes a little variety is in order. So as a treat to myself I used a little birthday money to go crazy at drydrinker.com and buy the beers in the photo above. When combined with a few I picked up from the local Roath Bottle Shop, this means I now have twenty different “spacer beers” in stock. Twenty!
I just read Scott Nesbitt's latest Weekly Musing, and it definitely struck a chord with me. He was writing about embracing your inner geek but in a way that feels right for you. My career in academia has given me the opportunity to research specialist subjects to the edge of current knowledge and beyond, which in many ways is making the inner geek an outer geek. However, what is really fun is indulging my inner geek in an amateur rather than professional fashion. There is a heady freedom in this, as it allows me to pursue an interest flexibly, or drop it when my focus changes.
Finally defeated the cardboard boxes again! After licking their wounds for a bit following the pre-baby box-clearance back in May, the boxes have been steadily re-infiltrating the household but enough was enough! I made time today in my leave to fight back and filled ten (yes TEN!) big green recycling bags with broken-down boxes from beer and baby purchases. Phew! That feels better! Must try to be more vigilant to prevent their next attempt to take over the apartment...
Lately I've been drinking plenty of low abv beers, fulfilling my prediction from just over 2 months ago – they're a sensible option in my current era of fractured sleep when I need to be a responsible handler of the wee one! So, time to give a verdict on which are my faves so far and some thoughts on which ones I might try next.
It's hot in the UK right now. Not hot on the global scale but certainly hot for a relatively northern island used to a temperate climate with an old, old infrastructure that isn't set up with AC in houses etc. I'm sticky and a little grouchy but I've not blogged in awhile so this will help lift my mood a little!
While I have plunged head-first into exploring <0.5% abv “spacer beers”, I haven't spent as much time in the territory between them and the low 3% realm of Milds, Light Ales, Ordinary Bitters and Berliner Weisses. Wikipedia tells me that 0.5-2.8% beers are “Small” or “Table” beers. The excellent beer historian Ron Pattinson reveals in Beer Advocate and in his Shut Up About Barclay Perkins blog that these were in fact two different tax categories in 18th Century Britain. The terms are starting to pop up again, used a little interchangeably by modern craft brewers but if you see them on a beer give it a try!