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21-07-2014, 09:23
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Boak & Bailey's Beer Blog - Writing about beer and pubs since 2007 (http://boakandbailey.com)
http://boakandbailey.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/navel_oranges.jpgNavel oranges by www.bluewaikiki.com (https://flic.kr/p/6uB45x), from Flickr, under Creative Commons.This is nothing more significant than an attempt to take stock of our own feelings about beer as of 2014.We’ve tried to be honest with ourselves — to consider our actions and reactions rather than ‘ideology’: what, when push comes to shove, do we order at the bar, or take from the fridge? What do we actually*enjoy drinking?
1. We approach bottled beer from small breweries with low expectations.*We assume they’ll be under- or over-carbonated; we expect to pour away more than half (http://boakandbailey.com/2012/05/four-beers-three-write-offs/)*of those we try; *and we’re surprised when anything ‘experimental’ actually works. And we get less enjoyment than we used to out of wading through duds to find a gem. Or, to put that another way…
2. We find ourselves drawn*to reliable beers and breweries.*Punk IPA is*unlikely to explode, need pouring down the sink, or make us feel nauseous. At the same time…
3. We can’t be bothered to drink mainstream bottled brown bitter any more.*It’s*so rarely anywhere near as good as a pint in the pub and (brace yourselves) often simply too fizzy for our tastes. (We don’t mind high carbonation but ‘fizzy’, to us, means specifically bubbles, as in a glass of mineral water, often accompanied by thin body and no head.)
4. The magic has gone out of our relationship with American beer. Is it to do with freshness, competition from UK brewers, or handling by UK bars? Or have we just become jaded? At any rate, after trying a whole range of kegged IPAs (e.g. Lagunitas, Founder’s All Day) on multiple occasions, in the last year, in London, Bristol, Manchester and Leeds, we*found ourselves underwhelmed — where’s the ‘zing’ (http://boakandbailey.com/2012/04/memorable-beers-1-goose-island-ipa/)? (We find that*Ska Brewing Modus Hoperandi in cans has zing, as, oddly enough, does Goose Island IPA.)
5. Living outside the urban ‘craft beer’ bubble has its frustrations, and its benefits. We don’t have easy access to bars or pubs with large rotating ranges of beer, and the ubiquity of Doom Bar and Betty Stogs is a trial. On the other hand, we’ve learned that St Austell Proper Job and Orval from bottles, both of which we can find reliably in local pubs, never seem to get boring. On which subject…
6. Belgian beer fascinates us more and more.*There’s something dispiriting about the idea of ‘unobtrusive yeast that lets the hops really shine’ — practically a mantra for US-style IPA brewers. The Belgian tradition puts yeast character right up front and gives us another set of flavours to grapple with.
7. We wish we had more of our home brewed lager.*We don’t think it’s objectively great, and it wouldn’t score well in competition (http://boakandbailey.com/2014/07/judging/), but we get a thrill out of drinking it that’s hard for any commercial beer to match.
The State of Our Taste 2014 (http://boakandbailey.com/2014/07/the-state-of-our-taste-2014/)

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