I enjoy drinking beer and especially trying beers that I haven’t tasted before, and particularly ones with exciting flavours rather than mainstream ales. When I go shopping for beer I’m often struck by the conservatism of the British beer industry and, more so, many of the retailers who sell beer.
Go to most supermarkets or off-licenses and the choice of beers available is limited to the usual fizzy lagers and then a range of beers all sitting at around 3%-5% strength with old-fashioned labels that typically highlight mythology, or the brewer’s sense of humour (Silent Slasher anyone). There are three or four real ales; a bitter, a golden ale, a winter warmer. Where are the fantastically flavoured, spicy, porters, the fruit beers, the wheat beers and the strong beers?
They exist. There are some adventurous British brewers around, but hard to find. Beers like Tempest Brewing, Kernel, the Waen Brewery, Brewdog — love them or loathe them, they push the boundaries. I’m lucky that I live in a city that has enthusiastic retailers, such as the marvellous Cornelius Beers. It’s a real shame that some of these beers aren’t just that little bit easier to buy.