Something you should no about me before I begin is that I have no “b” key on my keyboard and have to paste in a previously copied “b” everytime I want to write that blasted letter. Which is pretty frustrating went you want to write about beer, but there you go.
So, the poster to your left is an advert for North Bar’s American Beer festival. Which, frustratingly enough for everyone reading this, either ended last night – if you read this on the day of publishing – or finished some time ago. So sorry for not starting to blog sooner.
The festival was pretty good – a load of good American bottled beers, four different Flying Dog beers on tap in the UK for the first time ever (possibly) and an amazing 7.5% stout called Johnny Cask – a tribute to Johnny Cash.
Beer fans will presumably have loved it. A whole host of beers they may never have tried before (getting hold of a lot of this stuff in the UK is night on impossible, apparently). But this really was one for the enthusiasts only. Why? Because of the price.
See, American beers are traditionally brewed in American, which is normally quite a long way away from us. This poses a problem: how do you get the beer over the Atlantic without making it go all rubbish. There are two solutions.
1) Pasteurise the beer – this is the cheapest solution, but it would damage the flavours of the beer, and them American craft brewers won’t want to do that – and understandably so.
2) Refrigerate the beer for the entire journey – this means the beer still tastes good. But as you might imagine, keeping something refrigerated as it crosses the Atlantic isn’t cheap.
So, the brewers used solution two and, as such, the beers in North all came in at over £3 per bottle (ranging up to over £8, but they were usually for imperial pints, which is a lot of beer) and between £6 and £8 for a pint. Now, I’m happy to pay those prices for a quality, interesting drink. But, let’s face it, I’m in a minority here, and most people will probably opt for something cheaper and just as good (or often better) from somewhere nearer by. Say, Germany or Belgium – and North stock a great range of beers from both countries.
Luckily, I have a few bottles of American beers at home – some Brooklyn stuff and some Victory stuff. If I’m in the mood, I might write about them when I try them. Watch this space.
For now though, I wager North still have a few of the American beers kicking around if you want to give them a go, an if not the amazing Beer Ritz in Headingley will have some, I’m sure. They may be pricey, but if beer’s your thing, give them a go. But maybe stick to halves?