I was reminded by a re-tweet tonight of a post that was made a while back by one of our favourite beer lovers; Ding, and I'd like to give a little retort to what he wrote back then.
I'll give Ding a lot of respect. There's not many an English man who will move to the beer desert that is the states and be impressed with the beer scene over there... it's completely different to the great things we have over here, be it pubs or cask - you can't ever truly replicate what the UK has. Sometimes with Ding (and others) though, I fear a little bit too much of a curmudgeonly attitude creeps across, and I think even the best of us need to remember that it's not all as bad as we like to think it is...
In saying that, I'm going to give my list of ten reasons why I think it's better that more people know about good beer, in response to what Ding has to say:
1. Ding speaks of limited beers being unavailable unless they are followed religiously for releases. Now I'm sorry, but if you want to move back to a time where you can go to a store and pick up as much of said beer as you like, then it's not really a limited beer, and we could be seen as a little greedy. If more people want to get their hands on 'limited' beers, it just means those who truly claim to 'appreciate' these beers more, will have to try a little harder. Otherwise, leave them to others who still want them.
2. Beer events are getting more crowded yes, but that's not the beers fault, that's the fault of the organisers failing to organise properly and putting a cap on ticket numbers. Asked for pubs - they've always been generally busy. More places are starting to serve good beer, and so more good pubs are starting to become popular for the reasons they should be. If things are still run just as efficiently and properly I don't see why that should be a bad thing. So you can't get a seat on a busy Saturday eve, are you still really complaining about the amazing pint in your hand?
3. The UK is seeing a great resurgence in cask at the moment, and good cask beer at that. I think it's up to us that we send more to our brothers in the US, and certainly teach them how to cellar and serve it correctly, so that any cask (good or bad) isn't consumed within 60mins of tapping like locusts on a lettuce... Give more people proper cask, it's great!
4. In any subject there will always be people who think they know more than others, especially when they don't. It's a great time for education. We get so many people in Beer Ritz these days saying "We really liked that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale you recommended last night, do you have any other similar Pale Ales??" If imparted correctly a little knowledge can be the start of a inspirational journey.
5. Beer is becoming cool. I don't see why that's a bad thing at all. If people want to remark on the (good or bad) pint I buy, it allows as an opener for debate or interesting conversation. If you don't like talking about beer, don't drink beer or around other beer drinkers...
6. People aren't stupid. They can tell if they like a beer or not, and generally aren't bought in by the slogans and marketing. It's about taste, not 'craft'. If they like drinking a certain beer, they will continue to do so... it's up to breweries to try create something else that will appeal to people. Products shouldn't be promoted by giant billboards screaming "BUY THIS CRAFT", they should speak for themselves. People can make up their own minds.
7. Prices have climbed yes, but in many areas this should be the case. Increased use of quality ingredients, specialised equipment and more demand should all point to better beer. In most cases this is true, we are drinking much better beers than we did even 10/20 years ago.
8. The beauty of choice.
9. The introduction of good beer into places that have never really seen it has created so many new opportunities. People are being trained how to serve beer correctly. Almost lost skills are being re-learnt, jobs are being created and businesses are growing. It's such a great time for the beer industry, we are truly about to move into a new golden age.
10. If you're worried about anyone drinking your 'good beer' then you really don't really get beer at all. Beer is NOT exclusive... It couldn't be more inclusive, whether that be good beer, bad beer, craft beer, bottled beer, cask beer or keg beer - beer is for everyone and should always be for everyone, regardless of the content. Saying a good beer is wasted on an uneducated palate is dumb. Is a good beer wasted on the uber beer geek who's had far too many?
There's never been a better time to get into really flavourful beer. The more people we can get on board the better, it's great for these reasons and so many more. Would you really want to be the only one left holding the candle if it went out? If you do I can imagine that it's a pretty dark world out there.
Don't try push people out of the club.