Ads not shown when logged in
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 25

Thread: Micro-breweries and 'ticking' culture: Counter-productive regarding real choice?

  1. #1
    This Space For Hire aleandhearty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    West Yorkshire
    Posts
    3,091

    Default Micro-breweries and 'ticking' culture: Counter-productive regarding real choice?

    This is a topic that’s arisen socially quite a lot recently, in one guise or another. Perhaps it says something about the current buoyant state of the real ale market that the question can be asked at all? I suspect even three or four years ago there would have been no need.

    A couple of weekends ago the wife and I were sat in one of our favourite pubs and worked across the six pumps. All the beers were in reasonable condition, at the very least, but two of them were downright unpleasant regarding flavour and the other four very bland, with little distinguishing character. Although it wasn’t quite a ‘John Smith’s man’ moment, my wife commented ‘Wouldn’t it be nice just to have something we know?’ To my surprise, I actually felt the same way.

    With yet two more microbreweries rumoured to be opening soon in West Yorkshire, I live in a county that offers incredible choice, both from local producers and those available from surrounding areas. However, what is that choice based on? I think there’s a reasonable case for saying that a fair percentage of beers produced just aren’t up to snuff and that ‘ticking’ culture has a lot to answer for. The ingrained belief that new beers drive the market is debatably backfiring.

    In my opinion there are two main problems. Some micros don’t have enough technical skill or experience to offer consistent quality in their brews; and secondly, by constantly initiating miniscule changes to hopping rates etc to create a ‘new’ beer, a ‘core range’ of beers for the drinker to latch onto and appreciate is often missing, or neglected. Of course, beers do evolve and there has to be room for experimentation. For example, I particularly admire how Roosters and Abbeydale use the respective Outlaw and Dr. Morton’s labels for their more left-field beers.

    I’m sure some will argue that the market is self-regulating, regarding which breweries will survive and that the occasional boring session in a pub is a small price to pay for such diversity. However, I’m not entirely convinced. What do others think?
    'And where he supped the past lived still. And where he sipped the glass brimmed full' John Barleycorn, Carol Ann Duffy.

  2. #2
    Humble Wordsmith ETA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Normally Somerset, sometimes on a yacht.
    Posts
    1,228

    Default

    I agree that to a certain extent the market self-regulates, but to take that as the definitive way to control what is on offer risks decending into the 1970s scenario of decent beer's being supressed by the megakegs.

    Personally, I like a mix of both. It's always good to try a new beer, and a "tasting" session is a good way of spending a night out when in the right company. But equally, it is a pleasant, comforting (and veyr low stress) experience to walk into my local and enjoy a steady, predictable pint with people who lie just to the left of the CAMRA-lagerlout continuum.

    So, in all, well done to the experimental micros, you have a definite niche, but please don't pretend to the thrones off the more established brewers who continue to provide so much pleasure to a much wider section of society.

  3. #3
    Official PG MILD tester Soup Dragon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Staffs
    Posts
    1,639

    Default

    I think, if you go into a pub with 6 handpulls (aka handpumps) and they all taste blandish to crap, that is the fault of the pub for putting them on together.

    I am always going to chose a pint of Bathams MILD over Hobbyflabs Christmas Bonfire XB, however, i may ask for a sample, rather than risk wasting a pint, or even a half.
    MILD:

  4. #4
    Please give generously Quinno's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Reading
    Posts
    2,427

    Default

    I have an antipathy to breweries who appear to brew like Starbucks - eg to my mind make a vast VAT of 'regular' beer and then add basically something akin to syrup to change the flavour a little, then badge it with some tossy steam train or animal and call it part of a 'series'. Like Archers (RIP ha ha). I can think of a few others...
    Last edited by Quinno; 23-11-2010 at 23:37. Reason: I don't think steam trains are 'tossy' per se, just breweries who use them as an excuse to make multiples of crap beer

  5. #5
    We're not really 'ere! trainman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    down 'ere, from oop there
    Posts
    1,952

    Default

    Not having a dig at Little Ale Cart there Quinno? Their beers seem similar, but all good.

    Maybe I've been lucky enough to mostly avoid the blandest of micro offerings, but I do understand the argument for the 'safety' of a recognised reliable, especially when drinking with others who may not be as, let's say, curious, as me. That's why my bank of 5 featured Tiger, though it could equally have been Landlord.

  6. #6
    Roving RAT ROBCamra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Rochdale
    Posts
    4,984

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Quinno View Post
    I have an antipathy to breweries who appear to brew like Starbucks - eg to my mind make a vast VAT of 'regular' beer and then add basically something akin to syrup to change the flavour a little, then badge it with some tossy steam train or animal and call it part of a 'series'. Like Archers (RIP ha ha). I can think of a few others...
    That'll be Cottage then? I can't remember a really good beer from Cottage and supposedly I've had loads of different ones.
    Last edited by ROBCamra; 24-11-2010 at 09:06.
    A pub is for life not just for Christmas

  7. #7
    We're not really 'ere! trainman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    down 'ere, from oop there
    Posts
    1,952

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBCamra View Post
    That'll be Cottage then?
    Hmm, I can't say I've ever been a fan of Cottage either, or Pilgrim or Dorking brews.

  8. #8
    The Beerhunter. RogerB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Dartford, Kentshire near Londinium.
    Posts
    1,975

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBCamra View Post
    That'll be Cottage then? I cant remember a really good beer from Cottage and supposedly I've had loads of different ones.
    I think I have just had one cottage beer rebadged 25 times. I don't mind them but they are generally very bland.

    I agree with A&H to the extent that micros are in danger of flooding the market but to survive they need to get a decent portfolio of ales into the system. The problem is that in some places (like Yorkshire) there are so many that it is becoming hard to make comparisons between breweries and beers as they become much of a muchness - I'm sure the real beer tasting experts are having their skills stretched to the limit when it comes to trying to make them all sound different. Luckily I don't have access to that many although some of the newer Kent Breweries are beginning to filter out in my direction. At the moment it is quite exciting to see new beers and breweries cropping up in my area but I can understand the downside of it as well.

  9. #9
    Old & Bitter oldboots's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    God's Own County
    Posts
    4,962

    Default

    I have to admit it gets on my wick that small brewers with a brewing capacity of about two polypins claim to make a range of different ales as well as seasonals and specials. Our local CAMRA branch has a beef about the room all these so-called core brews take up in the GBG, space that ought to be devoted to pubs selling the stuff. I think a lot of this culture has to do with appealing to tickers and the naturally curious. Using unusual or themed names is a micro breweries attempt to differentiate their products from any other microbrewery, especially if they haven't been around very long, ordinary sounding X's Bitter or Y's Stout don't stand out from the crowd, fancy pump clips is another method used of course. The names sometimes stick, which I suppose means the marketing has worked, for example Cottage are always associated in my mind with any railway themed name even if they didn't brew it.
    Another thing, as others have already said, is an unbalanced bar, I don't really want to see 6-8 handpumps all selling golden ales at between 3.8 and 4.5%, I want a bit of choice, there are times when I just long for a boring brown bitter to break the monotony.

    Tell us, now, how and when
    We may find the bravest men?
    A sure test, an easy test:
    Those that drink beer are the best

  10. #10
    Waterborne Beer Inspector Bucking Fastard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Grand Union
    Posts
    2,376

    Default

    a&h has raised a very good point so here's my two penn'orth.
    Some microbrewers must feel there is a market for a large array of their brews which can result in a quest for quantity over quality.If this descends into "clip brewing" then this is a great forum for naming and shaming and already some likely suspects have been mentioned.However I suspect that ultimately the market will decide and poor micro brewers will be exposed.
    I feel the publican must take responsibility for the beer served on his premises.Like a&h ,on my travels I have also been in 6+ pump real ale outlets where I haven't fancied another pint of any of the brews on offer.Some publicans need to spend more time on selecting both well brewed ales as well as providing a range of beer styles.I would always try and comment on this in a review.
    I agree that it is probably more satisying to drink in a tied house with a small range of well kept regular beers (Everards springs to mind) than dive into a real ale outlet which is knocking out indifferent micro brewery ales with little thought behind the selection process.
    Last edited by Bucking Fastard; 24-11-2010 at 09:24.

Similar Threads

  1. a swift one - Spoiled for Choice
    By Blog Tracker in forum Blog Tracker
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-07-2010, 07:33
  2. The Pub Curmudgeon - Give us the choice
    By Blog Tracker in forum Blog Tracker
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-07-2010, 12:20
  3. Boak and Bailey's Beer Blog - The tyranny of the ticking bug
    By Blog Tracker in forum Blog Tracker
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-05-2010, 09:17
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-05-2010, 11:40
  5. Tandleman's Beer Blog - Ticking Over
    By Blog Tracker in forum Blog Tracker
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 15-03-2010, 09:10

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •