In the last email I listed two big changes that had happened in the beer world that week, well on Friday one more change occurred with the announcement that Lion (An Australian based brewer owned by Kirin from Japan) had purchased Magic Rock. Inevitably there was much online abuse directed at Magic Rock with the usual accusations of ‘sell outs’ being thrown around. Quite frankly I don’t see what the fuss is about, if owners of a business want to cash in on their hard work well good luck to them. Will we keep stocking them? For now yes but if there are significant changes to the beer our position will change. On a side note Lion owns two New Zealand craft breweries, Emerson’s and Panhead both of which have seemingly thrived under Lion’s control. The news did come as bit of a surprise though and thoughts inevitably turn to who will be next…
Writing about change last week got me thinking about other changes that have happened since we opened and here are three that sprung to mind immediately.
Cans over bottles
It would be hard to escape the increase in popularity of cans over bottles, in fact we struggle at times to find suitable bottled beer to stock in say our Pale section, so many of the breweries that we want to stock are can only. Looking at the beer lists of one of the suppliers we use really illustrates this point. Go back 2 years ago and they would have 10 pages of bottles listed and 3 or 4 of cans, than it started to even up and now it is the opposite with pages and pages of cans available and limited bottle stock.
440ml over 330ml
The size of cans has increased as well, when we started 440ml was a rarity, it was mainly 330ml, now it is just about all 440ml. Is this a good thing? I think for lighter, sessionable beers definitely but do I sometimes wish that the stronger beers were still in 330ml, not only to cut down on alcohol consumed but also to bring the price point down a touch.
The wider availability of ‘Craft’
It is no secret that the major supermarkets have really upped their beer game and ‘craft’ is much more widely available. I am in two minds on this one, I think it is great that better beer is more widely available but from a business side it does affect us when a supermarket is selling a beer for what it cost us wholesale. Needless to say we don’t stock that beer anymore.
I would be interested in what changes you have observed either in the market or in your own beer drinking preferences, let me know when you are next in the shop.
By the way there will be no ‘change’ related photos next week. Two weeks in a row is enough.
A collab theme plus a frankly intriguing sounding IPA.
Westerham Brewery / John Keeling Nova Anglia 5.9%
You might not know the name John Keeling but you will certainly know the beers, from 1999 until 2017 he was brewing director at Fullers. Here he has combined his considerable brewing knowledge with that of Robert from the Westerham brewery to brew a New England IPA. Now I haven’t tried it yet but reports are that it has the haze and the juice that you want in this style of IPA. Look out for it making an appearance on draught in the coming weeks as well. Please note that unlike other Westerham packaged beers Nova Anglia is not gluten free due to the high proportion of wheat in the brew.
Brew By Numbers / Hobsons Pale Ale 4.6%
Another collab, this one between London based Brew By Numbers and Hobsons, a brewer of traditional ales from Shropshire. A fairly normal hop mix from BBNO of Mosaic and Citra gives a stonefruit edge to the beer which the brewers say is amplified by the use of Hobsons ale yeast. What I liked about this beer was the mix between New World hops and smooth traditional yeast.
Arbor Faked Alaska 6%
I haven’t braced this one yet, I think I need to be in the right frame of mind to try it. A ‘Pudding IPA’ (new one to me to) it is a New England IPA brewed with vanilla, oats and lactose. It sounds intriguing if slightly mad. Can someone try it please and let me know what they think.
Available Draught Beers
Dark Star West Coast IPA has made a return on keg, we had this one at our Micro pub evening last year and it went so fast many of you missed trying so don’t miss out this time round. Joining it on keg is the smooth Siren Undercurrent and from Friday Faultline from Salopian will be on cask, it is a pale golden with a citrus note.
Hawkshead Windermere Pale 3.5% (cask) Refreshing and hoppy pale
Siren Undercurrent 4.5% (keg) Oatmeal pale
Dark Star West Coast IPA 5.9% (keg) Crisp with a bitter edge.
Salopian Faultline 4% (cask) Pale and golden
Oakham Citra 4.2% (cask) Citra hopped pale
Hawkshead Iti 3.5% (cask) NZ hopped light bitter.
Pig & Porter Mooncusser 4.3% (keg) New England Pale
Westerham / Keeling Nova Anglia 5.9% (keg) New England IPA
Ruth and Mike